Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Sandwich Generation Impacts Business

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Sandwich Generation Impacts Business

Article excerpt

ore and more middle-aged Americans between the ages of 40 and 60 are among the growing ranks of people who are caught between the demands of managing careers and midlife relationships while also raising families and caring for aging parents. For the first time in history, eldercare has become an issue to people in the throes of contemplating their own retirement. The stresses they face are more common than one may think. And with people living longer and starting families later in life, the pressure on the so-called "Sandwich Generation" is rising.

According to a recent study conducted among large employers in New York, approximately 65 percent of all employees use work related time to deal with caregiving to elderly parents. Caregiving responsibilities contribute to an excessive use of the telephone, absenteeism, lateness and unscheduled days off. The study also concluded that three fifths of caregivers surveyed reported evidence of excessive stress or physical complaints, and more than 50 percent reported decreased productivity or quality of work performance. More productivity is lost from employees having to fulfill parent care responsibilities than for child care ones.

The impact on business, productivity, health benefits cost and corporation bottom line is substantial and negative. One half of the work force will be 35 to 54 years in the year 2000. These are the most experienced and knowledgeable workers and are also the ones most heavily involved in elder parent care. Approximately 80percent of caregiving is provided by family members and as families becoming more geographically dispersed, the family support network continues to shrink. The typical caregiver is a working woman 56 years.

Starling, isn't it? And with the aging of our population, the demand on employees and employers alike are sure to increase, and for a longer periods of time than at any previous time in history. According to Dr. Joanne Schwartzberg, Department of Geriatric Health, American Medical Association, "Society is now faced with the first large-numbered generation which is living to be quite elderly. Therefore, there is no peer model with which to fall back on, to tell sandwich generationers and the elderly how to handle this situation. …

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