Caring for an Aging Relative Causes Personal Stress and Family Conflict, but Americans are ‘Happy to Do it’

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A new poll from Workplace Options examines the issues facing elder caregivers, including who shoulders the responsibility for care.

Three times more women than men think that women should bear most of the responsibility for elder care.

Today, there are more than seven potential caregivers for every American aged 80 or older, those living in the “high-risk years.” By 2030, that ratio is projected to drop to 4-to-1. By 2050, it will fall to less than 3-to-1. As the Baby Boomer generation ages, Americans are faced with new challenges in providing care for aging relatives. A new poll from employee effectiveness and work-life services provider Workplace Options examines the issues facing elder caregivers, including who shoulders the responsibility for care.

Unsurprisingly, caring for an aging relative causes family conflict and personal stress. According to 66 percent of respondents, elder care caused a lot, some or a little conflict within their families. A whopping 85 percent said that caring for an aging relative caused personal stress.

Still, 75 percent of respondents said that they did not resent having to take care of their aging relative. In fact, they were happy to do it. Just 5 percent felt a fair amount of resentment for the responsibility.

“We hear this all the time,” said Dean Debnam, chief executive officer of Workplace Options, a company that provides elder care resources and referrals for its customers. “People want to help. They want to take care of their loved ones, but often, they just don’t know where to start.”

“Seeing a family member loses some or all self-sufficiency is incredibly difficult. One of the best ways to reduce the turmoil people face is by helping them find the right resources,” he continued.

Who Is Responsible?

When the time comes to step in and provide care for an aging relative, one of the first decisions that must be made is who will take responsibility for the myriad tasks that must be handled, from housing preparation, to medical care, to managing finances and more. Overwhelmingly, poll respondents agreed that professional care is the best option.

In fact, 56 percent think that the best option is in-home care with professional assistance. Just 11 percent feel that they are capable of providing all of the necessary care for their elderly relative on their own; 61 percent would need to combine their efforts with outside assistance.

Other poll results showed:

  •     Three times more women (16 percent) than men (5 percent) think that women should bear most of the responsibility for elder care
  •     68 percent of respondents shared responsibility with family members
  •     39 percent of respondents would quit their jobs to care for an aging relative if they could; only 16 percent would be able to do so
  •     68 percent of respondents are employed full-time, 32 percent are employed part-time and 78 percent have children

“As more and more people are busy with careers and families of their own to care for, they recognize the importance and necessity of qualified outside assistance,” said Debnam. “This issue is only going to grow as the number of possible caregivers for those in need decreases, which is why it is so important to connect people with resources as quickly as possible.”

The national survey was conducted by the North Carolina firm of Public Policy Polling, September 6-10, 2013. The survey polled 524 working Americans and has a margin of error of +/- 4.2%. View complete poll results HERE.

About Workplace Options

Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family and personal life in order to make their lives healthier, easier and more productive. The company’s world-class employee support and work-life services provide information, resources, referrals and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care, legal and financial issues to stress management and wellness.

Drawing from an international network of credentialed providers and professionals, Workplace Options is the world’s largest integrated employee support services and work-life provider. Service centers in Raleigh, N.C., London, Toronto, Dublin, Singapore, Panama and Tokyo support more than 42 million employees in over 32,000 organizations, across more than 200 countries and territories. To learn more, visit http://www.workplaceoptions.com.

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Alexis Hourselt
Workplace Options
1-800-699-8011 71724
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