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AARP Multicultural Survey July 2001

Fewer caregiving responsibilities:

  • Forty-five percent of white Americans between the ages of 45 and 55 are sandwiched between children under 21 and at least one living parent or in-law.

  • Whites are the least likely of any group to have responsibility for the care of their elders. Nineteen percent provide financial support or other care for their parents, in-laws, or other older relatives—a proportion far below the 28 percent of African Americans, 34 percent of Hispanics, and 42 percent of Asian Americans.

  • Whites most frequently offer social forms of support, such as telephoning and visiting older family members.

  • Although white men give some forms of care, women are more involved in a wider variety of activities, such as staying in touch by telephone, visiting, and making other efforts.

  • Other types of support are offered less often, showing less engagement in caregiving than is generally found among minority members of this age group. For example, only 11 percent help care for children other than their own, such as grandchildren, neighbors and friends, or nieces and nephews. Among minorities, the probability runs much higher, ranging from 17 percent to 27 percent.

Lower expectations and stress: Not only are white older boomers less often engaged in caregiving, they are also less likely to feel caught in a squeeze between generations.

  • Only 17 percent of white members of the cohort report feeling stressed by the simultaneous care needs of immediate family and older relatives.

  • Compared with minority group members, whites (19%) are the least likely to believe that their own children ought to take care of them in their old age.

  • Among white boomers, stress is most prevalent among women (19% vs. 13% men) and those with a high school education or less (18% vs. 13% of college graduates). Among other things going on in their lives, women and those with less education report somewhat higher incidence of death and illness in their families.

Prepared for AARP by Belden Russonello & Stewart and Research/Strategy/Management Page 93

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