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Caregiving Inflicts Heavy Toll On Boomers: Hartford

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The stress of trying to handle a full-time job while caring for an injured or ill family member is hurting the productivity and mental wellbeing of baby boomers, according to new research.

Stress levels among caregivers were high for both younger (age 45 to 64) and older (age 65+) boomers, found the study by the Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. and ComPsych Corporation, Chicago, an employee assistance program administrator.

Asked about the emotional impact of providing care or support to injured or sick loved ones, 82% of the younger boomers and 80% of the older ones said they had experienced moderate to high levels of stress in the previous 6 months due to caregiving responsibilities.

The most worrisome issues, according to respondents, were the impact caregiving had on their jobs, cited by 47% of younger boomers and 34% of those aged 65-plus.

Other stress-inducers cited by survey participants were worries about meeting expenses (roughly 37% of both age groups), reduced personal savings (35% of younger boomers and 34% of older ones) and reduced retirement savings (23% of younger boomers and 24% of older ones).

Another key worry: the possibility of having to continue working rather than retire to pay caregiving costs, cited by 41% of younger boomers and 43% of older ones.

Lost work productivity was another principal concern, with 68% of younger boomers and 54% of older ones saying they had missed work or left work early in the prior 6 months to handle caregiving responsibilities, the survey found.

Much of that time came out of paid time off, with 23% of younger boomers and 22% of older ones saying they had lost at least 40 hours of vacation time in the previous 6 months due to caregiving duties.

The survey polled 461 younger boomers and 401 older boomers who had used ComPsych EAP programs in February.


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