Who Will Take Care of Us?

Young men are stressed about the emotional burden; women are less likely to want help than men

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Young Men Are Stressed About the Emotional Burden

Men ages 18-29 are twice as likely as young women to be concerned about having to someday provide emotional or physical support for their parents.


By age 30 that changes, and women become more worried than men. “This speaks to the sandwich generation part of this,” says Coogle. “Women are having children later, which means those kids are younger as the grandparents are aging. Women know that if they have to add eldercare to the demands of child care, they will double their stress.”

Women Are Less Likely Than Men To Want To Help

"My kids should help care for me."

Women who agree: 61%

Men who agree: 67%


"My kids should let me live with them."

Women who agree: 49%

Men who agree: 57%


"My kids should give me money."

Women who agree: 38%

Men who agree: 50%


“Anyone who has been involved in eldercare is trying to figure out how not to burden her own children,” says Kathleen Kelly, executive director of the Family Caregiver Alliance. “Plus, women who have provided child care understand the issues and challenges involved in getting good care.”

We Disagree About Why Our Kids Should Look After Us

When asked for good reasons our children should contribute financially to our long-term care, men and women tend to answer differently. Men are more likely to point to a sense of intergenerational duty, responding that “my parents took care of their parents; that’s just the way it is.” Women take a more pragmatic approach, tending to answer that they want help “so I can maintain my quality of life” or “because I have no other options.” The sexes are equally likely to say, “So I do not depend on the government for help.” But this is a misunderstanding of the facts. “Are they sending back their Social Security checks and declining to use Medicare?” asks Ronald Lee, former director of the Center on the Economics and Demography of Aging at the University of California, Berkeley. “These people probably are getting help from the government. At older ages, almost everyone is.”


Our Sons Will Step Up

22% of men ages 18 to 29 expect a parent will move in with them. “Younger men now are much more involved in helping to raise their own children than in previous generations,” says Feinberg. “In the future, we’ll see that translate into more help and caring for an older parent.”

Our Ethnicity Affects What We Expect From Our Kids

Asian respondents overwhelmingly agree that their children should contribute to their retirement if necessary (71% agree; 13% disagree).
African Americans are split on the subject (37% agree; 41% disagree). Whites (43% agree; 37% disagree) and Hispanics (45% agree; 35% disagree) again fall in between.


Previous: What We Won't Do For Them


From the beginning: What Do We Owe Our Parents


(Photo: Lighthunter/Shutterstock.com)

First published in the September 2013 issue

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