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AARP Multicultural Survey July 2001

Caring for elders and more spiritual coping mechanisms:

  • Thirty-eight percent of African Americans in the cohort have at least one parent or in-law living and one or more children under 21, compared with 44% for the total population.

  • African Americans who have living parents or in-laws are the most likely to live in the same town or city as those older family members (47% and 50%, respectively), and the majority live in the same state.

  • While they tend to have more children, African Americans also help care for children other than their own: grandchildren, nieces or nephews, and even children of neighbors or friends. Almost one-fifth (19%) help out other children, as opposed to the 11 percent proportion that prevails among the rest of the total population.

  • Twenty-eight percent of African Americans provide care for elders (mainly their parents)— a proportion that exceeds that of whites (19%), but falls short of that for Asian Americans (42%) and Hispanics (34%).

  • With all their stress and caregiving responsibilities, older African American baby boomers are coping well. Nearly two-thirds (63%) say they can comfortably handle all the family responsibilities they currently have, although this proportion is considerably lower than that of other 45-to-55- year olds (73% in the general population).

  • When considering coping mechanisms, African Americans are more likely to report that they draw support from spiritual sources. Sixty-eight percent say faith or prayer has helped them to take care of elders (as opposed to 62% of the general population). Also, 51 percent of African Americans (compared with 42% of the rest of the cohort) credit their church or other religious organizations with assisting eldercare efforts.

  • Like other minorities, African American members of the sandwich generation rely on their relatives to help care for elders more often than do whites. Fifty- two percent receive assistance from their siblings, and 37 percent indicate their other relatives have helped them (compared with 45% and 29%, respectively of whites).

Prepared for AARP by Belden Russonello & Stewart and Research/Strategy/Management Page 84

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