AARP Multicultural Survey July 2001
African Americans experience the highest incidence of potentially stress- inducing family and personal events, and suffer the highest probability of having had a family member die within the last year.
The coping mechanisms of African American members of the cohort frequently include religious faith, family connections, and their siblings. African Americans turn to doctors and governmental agencies more frequently than do others.
Hispanics, who account for nine percent of the sandwich generation, are the most family-focused of all the groups. Living almost half in cities and nearly half in suburbs, Hispanics are the most likely to be surrounded by family members. Their families include more children than average, and more often have both parents alive. Hispanics assume considerable family member care duties, but they pay a high price.
Hispanics accumulate stress from two fronts. They do a great deal for parents and other family members, and, more than the average baby boomer, they are inclined to feel guilt for not having done enough.
For many Hispanics, the combination of high expectations and effort create a heavier load. Fully one-third—a proportion that greatly exceeds the norm—have taken responsibility for the care of their elders. And much of this care entails such substantial tasks as supporting older parents financially, giving them personal care, and helping them obtain medical attention.
Asian Americans, who represent only four percent of the cohort, differ from other baby boomers in a variety of ways. Unlike members of the other ethnic groups surveyed, Asian Americans stretch care for their families across generations and across oceans.
Asian Americans are the most apt to have responsibilities for both children and living parents, because many postponed having children. Yet, for all they do, Asian Americans are the most apt to confess guilt for not doing more. Not surprisingly, then, Asian Americans are also the most likely to indicate that care for family members brings stress. Nonetheless, these urban-centered, mostly immigrant older boomers to some degree expect their children to continue this cycle of caring for elders.
In some respects, Asian American members of the sandwich generation have the least available support from family members. They generally have fewer and younger children—or no children at all—to help care for parents who live in the
Prepared for AARP by Belden Russonello & Stewart and Research/Strategy/Management Page 8