Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sandwich generation getting toasted


…Carol Fleck, writing in the AARP Bulletin (May 2006), talks about a woman who got a simultaneous call about her elderly mother, who had a bad reaction to oral surgery, and her daughter who had gone into labor.

…Is there enough caregiving to go around?

…People are living longer and their kids are taking care of them (although we have seen some examples in taking care of our mother of kids who basically dump the parents off and scoot).

…My sister and I are of granny age—and we take care of a great granny. HA also has a 20-something at home.

…According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, 44 million Americans care for aging relatives. Of these, 29 million also have a job.

…By 2008, 54% of the workforce will have this other “side” job.

…About 16% quit and 13% retire early because they cannot do both.

…Billions in productivity are lost when employees try to take a call from Johnny’s school while on hold to the assisted care center to deal with a problem there.

…What’s going to give? Many experts say employers need to be more tolerant.

…Some now offer support groups for elder caregivers during work lunch hours (take it from HA, bitching and venting helps).

…Others offer elder care benefits, such as an on-site social worker or gerontologist.

…You also could take unpaid leave in an emergency. Go to www.dol.gov and click on “Family and Medical Leave Act.”

…Believe HA when she says an assisted care center calling is just as urgent and worrisome as a call from the school. She has taken both calls. Many times.

…The difference is that when the person is older, someone else is less likely to step in. It’s a “you have to be there” kinda deal.

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