Baby Boomers Feeling Overwhelmed and Under Supported

Jack Loechner writing for the Center for Media Research reports on a recent study by Communispace about the overburdened role of the “sandwich generation” – boomers who are taking care of their kids, themseves and their parents.

A significant finding is that this caretaker segment is more of a “situation” than a generation. It includes people ranging from their mid-30s to 60 and over who will sacrifice more for their parents, even if it’s at the expense of their children:

  • 58% said they’d give a spare bedroom to an aging parent over their young adult child
  • 65% said they’d move in with an ailing parent, even if it meant a longer commute and new environment (school, friends, etc) for their child or children
  • 77% would adapt the things they’d purchase to accommodate parents; for example, when buying a new car they’d consider buying one with a larger trunk (to hold a parent’s wheel chair or walker), rather than one that is comfortable or gets good gas mileage

With regards to insurance, healthcare and social services, responses indicated:

  • 45% like the idea of a flexible home health insurance plan that would cover their parents as well as themselves and their spouse at different periods in time
  • 47% would like to have the ability to carry their parents as well as their kids on their health insurance
  • 39% like the idea of a low-cost, high-deductible health insurance add-on for their kids who are not in college but also not employed or getting health insurance from their employer
  • 40%  like the idea of someone who could transport their parent to the doctor, sit with them when the doctor gives them a diagnosis and treatment plan, and then report it all to them
  • 26% like the idea of a combined Senior Center and Child Daycare Center
  • 26% like the idea of a service to dispense or remind their parents to take their medication
  • 22% like the idea of a services that would install webcams in their parents’ home and their own  to let them monitor them
  • A “considerable number” of people are looking for more culturally and linguistically appropriate services for their elderly parents (many of whom don’t speak English)

Loechner sums up his report by saying: “Products and services designed for a world where one’s middle years bring a decrease in responsibility and an increase in personal time, are out of step with today’s reality.”