We are creatures driven by human nature, and that nature tends to leave us putting off those difficult family discussions.

My recent experiences have really opened my eyes to the importance of having some of these discussions, before difficulties arise.

Planning ahead can really be a gift that can help to reduce stress, confusion and frustration.

Last week, I found myself caring for my 76 year old mother, who wound up in the hospital with cardiac problems.

The situation was even more complicated because she is the sole caregiver to her 83 year old partner, who is suffering with dementia. Her daily routine of caring for him has challenged her own health and well-being.

My story of supporting aging parents with health challenges, while still supporting children, thrusts me, and millions of others just like me, into the so-called Sandwhich generation.

It can feel pretty overwhelming when you're working (or trying to), providing support and guidance to aging parents with medical complications, caring for kids still in high school, and did I mention I'm a wife and Grandmother too?

Our journey is just beginning really but one piece of advice I feel qualified to give at this point is to talk with your family now, and plan ahead.

Medical and financial information for aging parents can be complicated, and it's better to have knowledge about finances and insurance, their personal wishes for their long-term care, and their end-of-life needs as well.

It's much easier to have these conversations and share this knowledge with one another now before a hospital visit or nursing home care become necessary.

While it's often difficult to talk about medical and legal Power of Attorney, Medicare, and Medicaid, it's much less frustrating in the long run making arrangements if this information is known and documented up front.

Even though it can be a tough road to travel, there are millions going through the same experiences, and there are numerous books and resources available to help, so there's no need to go it alone.