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Elder care: Baby Boomers are being hit harder with parent care responsibilities

eldercare031411_optBY CAROL ABAYA
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
THE SANDWICH GENERATION

Even as they themselves age, Baby Boomers are more involved than ever before with responsibilities for their aging parents.

With the 85+ age group growing faster than any other age segment, elder caregiving responsibilities will increase dramatically in the coming years.

This aging scene is even more complicated because 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65 EVERY DAY.

Various statistics show that

•• 40 percent of Baby Boomers are taking care of aging parents.

•• 68 percent of Baby Boomers missed work or left early (or arrived late) because of elder caregiving chores.

•• Unknown quantified number of Baby Boomers have delayed or are planning to delay retirement.

The impact on the work force and productivity is seen by the following numbers:

•• 60 percent of employed caregivers have had to make work time adjustments.

•• 10 percent have left work completely.

•• 10 percent have reduced the number of hours worked.

•• 3 percent of the general work force have taken early retirement.

Leaving the work force completely or reducing work hours – hence income -- means Baby Boomers are facing an uncertain financial future for themselves. The snowball affect also means that:

•• money to educate college age children is no longer available.

•• college students have to borrow money and are faced with a steep debt upon graduation.

•• young adults will be delaying marriage and/or buying a home because of college debts.

•• this generation will have less money to help aging parents who will need help in the future, but don’t have enough money because of work stoppage or early retirement.

This snowball effect will mean that in the future pressures on Medicaid and other government medical and health programs will skyrocket.

Aging Care More Complicated

The aging scenario has become even more complicated with The Club Sandwich Generation becoming more prominent .

The Club Sandwich Generation involves four generations, with the traditional Sandwich Generation caregiver or a younger generation playing more roles. The four generations are (1) the elder, (2) the elder’s child (the traditional Sandwich ) who may also be a grandparent caregiver, (3) the elder’s grandchildren --(the caregiver of the Club Sandwich ), and (4) the elder’s great grandchildren, who are children at the heart of the Club Sandwich.

Today many grandparents aged 60+ (some 36 percent) are taking care of both grandchildren and their aging parents. And many are also working.

This situation is further complicated by the fact that 20 percent to 30 percent of those 60+ have health problems that limit their physical ability to work at jobs requiring physical tasks. Other studies show that 45 percent of those 62 to 69 have physically demanding jobs or job that require at least sporadic physical effort. As a result 40 percent in the general work force retire earlier than planned because of their own poor health, caregiving responsibilities or job loss.

The Sandwich Generation is reader interactive and comments and questions welcome. Comments and questions are not answered to postings on this website. Contact Carol Abaya via her web site www.sandwichgeneration.com or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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