Navigating the “Sandwich Generation” Maze

by | April 13, 2024 | Care Tips

Logan Hassinger shares some insights about navigating the sandwich generation maze, particularly relating to housing and transition issues, using strategic planning and smart renovations.

The “sandwich generation” is a unique group of individuals who find themselves in a challenging yet rewarding journey. These are adults who are simultaneously supporting their aging parents and their adult children, who are staying home longer than past generations. In my work with Sage Senior Support, I see this dynamic play out all the time. I see families trying to navigate the delicate process of transitioning parents to senior living while also accommodating the needs of younger generations at home.

The Double-Decker Challenge

Imagine juggling the responsibilities of ensuring your parents’ comfort and dignity in their golden years with the task of supporting your 20-something-year-old children, all under one roof. It’s like making a sandwich with multiple layers, each requiring a different kind of care and attention.

The challenges? For starters, there’s the emotional tug-of-war. Ensuring your parents’ home transitions smoothly, often through a sale, can be a sensitive topic. I’ve seen firsthand how hard it can be for someone to part with a home where they’ve lived for decades. The process applies emotional pressure and financial pressure. Those pressures often fall directly on the “sandwiched” parents.

Financial Squeeze and Space Crunch

The financial aspect can’t be ignored. With resources stretched between elder care costs, potential home renovations, and the financial support of adult children, the sandwich generation faces a unique financial squeeze. I try to help make the financial journey smoother for everyone involved. I guide my clients through two ways to alleviate financial pressure: strategic planning and smart renovations.

Navigating the Sandwich Generation Maze with Strategic Planning

Strategic planning involves careful assessment and forward-thinking to ensure that the needs of both elder parents and young adults at home are met without compromising financial stability. It’s about finding a middle ground where each family member’s needs are considered in the planning process.

For one family I worked with, we developed a plan that involved refinancing their home to free up some equity that could be used for both renovations to accommodate their multigenerational living situation and to help cover some of the costs associated with senior care. This approach not only provided immediate financial relief but also improved the home’s overall value.

For another family, we explored the option of leveraging a reverse mortgage for their elderly parent, which allowed them to convert part of the home equity into cash, thus easing the financial burden without having to sell the property immediately. Strategic planning can ease the financial squeeze and help maximize investment returns by creating a tailored approach that aligns with the family’s overall financial health and future goals.

Navigating the Sandwich Generation Maze with Smart Renovations

Smart renovations can help you tackle the space crunch by adapting your home to better suit multigenerational living. This might involve converting existing spaces into more functional areas that can serve the needs of both older and younger family members.

With one family I worked with, we transformed an unused attic into a fully functional apartment for their elderly parent. This not only gave them the privacy and independence they craved but also kept them close to the family for support and care. Now, the downside to this addition was that it was upstairs and eventually they would need to end up switching with someone in the home to provide a safer living area their elderly parents.

Another family took a different approach by converting their garage into an additional en-suite, complete with a small kitchenette and bathroom. This allowed their young adult child the freedom and space they needed while still being an integral part of the household. (I won’t get into how much rent should be charged to their child for still living at home. I’ll save that for another article.) These smart renovations not only address the immediate need for space but also increase the property’s value and appeal by making it more versatile and accommodating to various living situations.

Both situations turned what was a stressful time for the family into a long-term solution that not only took care of both the older and younger generation but added valuable equity to the “sandwiched” family’s home.

Making It Through the Maze

Despite the challenges, there’s a silver lining. The sandwich generation is at a unique vantage point, able to bridge family heritage with future legacies. In my work, I’ve been fortunate to have seen firsthand the beauty of families coming together, making decisions that honor their elders while paving the way for the next generation’s success.

I believe each family’s needs are different. I remind my clients that it’s “Your Home: Your Transition.” That underlines our commitment to easing the challenges faced by the sandwich generation. Whether it’s offering an easier, less stressful way to sell mom’s or dad’s house, or providing insights into making a home suitable for all generations, we’re here to help.

Navigating the journey of the sandwich generation may be akin to mastering a complex recipe, but with the right ingredients – empathy, understanding, and strategic support – it’s possible to create a harmonious living situation that supports everyone involved.

Don’t just try to manage these challenges. Instead, turn them into opportunities for growth, connection, and shared family success. With the right approach, the sandwich generation can indeed make the most of their unique position, creating a legacy of love, support, and wise investments.


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Filed Under: Care Tips
Tags: family
Author Bio: Logan Hassinger was inspired to start Sage Senior Support after witnessing the struggles of his wife’s parents as they cared for his wife’s beloved grandmother, affectionately known as “Mama.” Drawing on his own expertise in real estate, he founded Sage Senior Support to extend a helping hand to other families navigating similar circumstances. His company is based in Grapevine, Texas, and it services the entire Dallas-Fort Worth area.

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