AARP Multicultural Survey July 2001
Stress might seem inevitable among Asian Americans, since 35 percent report that their parents live in another country, a proportion much higher than the 5 percent that prevails among other older boomers. This difference is probably attributable to the high percentage of Asian Americans (72%) who were not born in the United States.
Older Asian American baby boomers are more likely than other members of the cohort to undertake roles as heavy caregivers. This difference may well stem from needs to translate for non-English-speaking parents who live in the United States. Notably, 54 percent of the Asian Americans report that they frequently or sometimes talk to doctors or other health care providers for their parents. This is particularly true of college-educated Asian Americans (68%). By comparison, only 36 percent of other Americans do so.
Asian Americans are the most likely to report that caregiving responsibilities have affected their lives. Among sandwich generation members who support and care for their elders, Asian Americans are the most likely to have made nearly every one of the possible adjustments about which we asked—from deciding about what job to take to saving money. This is particularly true of the best educated and the younger Asian Americans in the cohort.
Given the higher incidence of self-reported adjustments to accommodate family members, it is no surprise that Asian Americans more often report that care for older relatives and parents engender stress on their personal relationships with others. For example, 33 percent of Asian Americans report caregiver-related stress on their relationship with their spouse, compared with 20 percent of the general public.
While most older Asian American baby boomers (67%) feel they can comfortably handle all family responsibilities, the proportion is smaller than that which prevails among other groups (73%).
When attempting to cope with stress, Asian Americans use the same mechanisms that other Americans rely on, particularly faith and prayer. Nevertheless, Asian Americans mention these mechanisms less frequently (54% of the time) than do others (62%).
In the past five years, and in proportions that resemble those of the rest of the population, many Asian Americans set aside personal time to do things they want so they can better care for family members (48%). This is particularly true of men (55%) rather than women (42%). Similarly, 44 percent of Asian Americans have taken time off work to help care for family members, again with more men having done so (49%) than women (40%). Prepared for AARP by Belden Russonello & Stewart and Research/Strategy/Management