More working families care for elders

Nearly 40 percent of older seniors rely on a working-age son or daughter for caregiving, says a new survey conducted by SCAN, a California company that offers managed-care plans for the elderly.

And this impacts the workplace: Of employees who care for elderly, about half said they had to alter daily work schedules (arriving late, leaving early, taking time off) because of the responsibility, according to a survey by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the American Association of Retired Persons.

To retrieve those lost hours, says SCAN CEO Sam Ervin, employers may need to provide eldercare benefits - such as long-term care insurance or referral services - to help employees support aging relatives. "It will become more of a workplace issue ... especially as baby boomers continue to age and as their parents need help."

The SCAN study also found:

*76 percent of the seniors surveyed rely on a caregiver for assistance with daily activities.

*41 percent live alone.

*35 percent live with a spouse.

*24 percent live with family members.

SCAN interviewed some 1,500 seniors who averaged 82 years old for its survey.

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