AARP Multicultural Survey July 2001
Comfortable with Responsibilities
Older boomers are dealing well with the sandwich issue. By and large, the members of the cohort are not yet feeling squeezed by the care needs of their children and parents. More than 70 percent feel they can comfortably handle their family responsibilities, and the same proportion do not feel stressed by family needs.
Although Americans of all racial and ethnic backgrounds report that they are dealing relatively well with caregiving pressures, African Americans express more stress than do others. African Americans report a greater sense of being overwhelmed by so many family responsibilities.
Some Feel a Need to do More
Most welcome the chance to help care for their parents, and most believe they provide levels of care that exceed their parents’ expectations. Nevertheless, many still feel pangs of guilt over not doing enough. Nearly half (48%) think they should be or should have done more for their parents. The prevalence of guilt is relatively unrelated to how much care sandwich generation members provide to family. Asian Americans, among the most active caregivers, are also the most likely to express guilt (72%), followed by Hispanics (65%) and African Americans (54%). Non-Hispanic whites are least apt to feel guilty (44%).
Prefer to Avoid Burdening Their Children
Self-confidence and independence color the attitudes of this generation. Even though older boomers welcome the chance to care for their own parents, most (69%) do not necessarily want their children to feel that they must shoulder the equivalent responsibilities. Opinions on this subject vary, however, by race and ethnicity. When asked about preferences for their own care in old age, non- Hispanic whites (19%) and African Americans (23%) are less inclined to want their children to provide such care than are Hispanics (31%) or Asian Americans (38%).
A Few Cracks in Family Relationships, but Overall, Caring Brings Closeness
Although members of the sandwich generation manage to cope comfortably with caregiving pressures, some are beginning to feel the strain of having elderly parents, young children, or both. Most pressed are those with direct responsibility for the care of their parents and other older family members.
Prepared for AARP by Belden Russonello & Stewart and Research/Strategy/Management Page 5