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