Overall, 8% of those employees in the “sandwich generation,” a group with caregiving duties to both children and the elderly, report spending an average of 36 hours per week on these responsibilities, according to the Personal Time Index by ComPsych Corporation. Broken down, that time is spent on:
- 10.4 hours per week on child-care tasks such as
bathing, feeding or making
- 9.6 hours per week on extra-curricular activities for kids
- 4.5 hours per week driving kids to school
- 4.1 hours per week on caregiving tasks for an elderly relative
- 2.6 hours per week traveling to the elder’s residence
- 4.7 hours per week on making arrangements (financial, legal, social or health-related) for the elderly.
These individuals reported getting only 6 hours of sleep per night, and needing to take off 18.9 vacation and sick days per year to deal with personal and care-taking issues.
“Two things appear to be increasing: workload and what we call ‘care-load,'” said Richard Chaifetz, chairman and CEO of ComPsych, a doctor. “More and more Baby Boomers are caring for elderly relatives as well as children. Add to this the increased pressures at work due to layoffs, and you’ve got employees in dire need of help.” To help alleviate the strain, Chaifetz said companies should have work-life employee assistance programs in place.
For most workers polled, though (55%), taking care of children consumes most of the time, with the average employee with child-rearing duties spending 30.4 hours a week on these tasks. Broken down:
- 17.9 hours per week on child care tasks such as bathing, feeding or making care arrangements
- 7.9 hours per week on extra-curricular activities for kids
- 4.6 hours per week driving kids to school.
Employees who care for only elderly relatives on the other hand , 25% of those surveyed, spend 10 total hours per week on caregiving duties. Those duties break down as:
- 4.4 hours per week on caregiving tasks for an elderly relative
- 2.0 hours per week traveling to the elder’s residence
- 3.6 hours per week on making arrangements (financial, legal, social or health-related) for the elder.
The survey was conducted from October 6 to November 6, 2003, receiving responses from employees of more than 700 ComPsych client companies nationwide.