Posted in on March 7, 2016

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Working Caregivers & Loneliness Myth

As someone providing support for an aging parent while working full-time and raising a teenager, I was heartened to see strong interest in an article dealing head-on with the issue of working caregivers as a part of the mature marketing links of the week. This week’s post explores this, as well as an article looking at loneliness in older people that provided some trends that many of us might find surprising. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

MOST SHARED: America’s working moms increasingly face the challenge of balancing their own family and career demands with caring for aging parents. While abundant resources exist for new mothers — how to tell the boss you’re pregnant, how to find a place to pump at work, how to negotiate flex time — adult children (especially women) get little help navigating the struggles of balancing their careers and the needs of their aging parents.

There are 44 million unpaid eldercare providers in the U.S., the majority of whom are women (U.S. Census Bureau)

And yet there are very few programs to support these family caregivers, many of whom are struggling at work and at home. According to the article, working daughters often find they need to switch to a less demanding job, take time off or quit work to make time for their caregiving duties. As a result, they suffer loss of wages and risk losing job-related benefits such as health insurance, retirement savings and Social Security benefits.

Women lose an average $324,044 in compensation due to caregiving
(MetLife and the National Alliance for Caregiving)

By 2030, the United States will need between 5.7 and 6.6 million caregivers to support the sick and aging

These same women are expected to live well into their mid-80s, and outlive (by about two years) the average man. How will they afford their own care later in life if they can’t save for it at midlife while they are caring for someone else?

American’s conversation about the competing demands of work and family needs to take working daughters into account and focus on accommodations such as flex time, mentoring, and reentry-assistance programs that will enable workers to care for their aging parents without their own lives falling apart. For senior living marketers, understanding and addressing how your community can ease this burden can help begin the conversation within families.

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MOST CLICKED: It turns out that the perception that seniors are frequently lonely and isolated may be incorrect, at least according to a survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI).

According to the report:

1.    Whether living alone or not, Seniors may be more at ease with themselves and the world, and may actually be happier than other age groups

2.    Living in a senior community, with bountiful social interaction and other lifestyle benefits, could actually be adding years to residents’ lives

3.    Factors such as income, level of education — even political affiliation — seem to impact the degree to which Seniors experience loneliness and isolation

How Often Seniors Feel Lonely or Isolated
Never: 59%
Rarely:  17%
Often: 6%

How Often Seniors Connect with Family
Every day: 58%
At least once a week: 24%

So what does this mean for groups marketing to seniors? The fact that the percentage of seniors who see their family members often (58%) is almost the same as those who say they never feel lonely or isolated (59%), suggests that family interactions may be one key to happiness late in life. In addition, those who can afford to be part of a larger community, such as a retirement community, may have a significant advantage over those who do not have that option.

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