Caregiving Crisis Facing Women

Working daughters need flex time, mentoring, and reentry-assistance programs so they can care for their aging parents without their lives falling apart. What seems to be the problem? Just this…. Just when a working woman is perhaps at her peak of earning power or maybe on track for a lucrative career opportunity, caregiving becomes the most important event in her life. There aren’t a lot of resources to guide women as they navigate between their careers and the needs of their aging parents. Currently there are 44 million unpaid eldercare providers in the United States and the majority of them are women, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and they are struggling both at work and at home. Sometimes a switch to a less demanding job or a part-time job is an answer and the impact to a career is significant. Losing job-related benefits such as health insurance, retirement savings, Social Security benefits and of course a loss of wages is only part of the problem, albeit a huge problem. It has been calculated that women lose an average of $324,044 in compensation due to caregiving, a study from MetLife and the National Alliance for Caregiving shows us. These same women, the caretakers, then most certainly will have difficulty affording their own care later in life. Women outlive men by about two years and are expected to live well into their mid-80s. They may be just getting by financially now without putting money away for their time after their parents die. That is the financial picture – now look at the emotional and demanding needs that occupy their time. Northwestern Mutual research indicates that most Americans feel that caring for two elderly adults would be more difficult than caring for two toddlers. It’s not just chores like shopping for food, cooking, house cleaning, nursing care and transportation that occupy their time and put stress on them, but the emotional component can be most challenging. There is role reversal which can threaten their identity. Things seem upside down. Compounding the caregiving issue is the refusal of elderly parents to have “someone other than family” care for them. It may or may not be a financial issue but rather one of time and energy. Working plus caregiving is a serious ordeal. And what about having support at work? Employers may not be able to supply a flexible schedule or cope with increasing absences from work. Also, many instances of moving are necessary as parents live in other cities or states or long distances away. Conversations affording negotiations, support and common sense suggestions need to begin and continue to assist the crisis that is facing America’s working daughters. For more information go to The Atlantic:

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