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AARP Multicultural Survey July 2001

2. Types of Help Given to Elders

Staying in touch: The most frequent contact that members of the sandwich generation have with their elders is social, including calling parents and others to check up. See figure 9. Fifty-eight percent of the cohort frequently make such calls, while another 25 percent do so sometimes. Most also visit older family members. Those most likely to visit and call frequently include women and the youngest members of the cohort.

Beyond the personal comfort derived from social contact, there are many other kinds of assistance that older baby boomers provide. Many older relatives need financial support. Others require help with housework, legal issues, handling bills or other paperwork, and transportation to the doctor’s office or for shopping.

Around 45 percent of sandwich generation members occasionally perform housework and home maintenance chores, and a similar proportion drive their elders to physicians and shopping. Less than 20 percent frequently help with such errands.

Not surprisingly, there is a relationship between the probability of helping with a task and the amount of time or level of intimacy that the task involves. Only about one-third of the cohort become involved with talking to medical professionals, handling paperwork and bills, and addressing legal issues; again even fewer frequently lend such aid.

Twenty-seven percent contribute financially or otherwise help with expenses. Slightly more than one-fifth make financial decisions for older parents or in-laws.

Finally, for older family members who most need care, small proportions of the generation arrange for aides or nurses (17%) and help with such personal matters as dressing and eating (12%).

Prepared for AARP by Belden Russonello & Stewart and Research/Strategy/Management Page 53

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