Older workers increasingly find themselves functioning as caregivers and providers in both directions, helping support their own parents as well as their own children and grandchildren, according to data from the Sloan Center on Aging and Work.
Of workers age 45 and above, 26 percent care for one or more children, 18 percent provide care for a spouse and more than a third are or have been responsible for the care of a parent. One in seven cares for both an adult and a child.
Other studies have shown that that one in two workers aged 50 and above have a dependent child in the household and one in five of these workers have an adult child in the household.
More than half of men who are working beyond age 50 and about two-fifths of women cited the need to support family members as a major reason they continue to work. Meanwhile, caregiving responsibilities take a toll on those workers and potentially on their careers, including the need to miss work or cut back from full-time to part-time employment.
“Many older adults desire to remain in the workforce in order to help provide financial support and/or care for parents, children and grandchildren. However, their caregiving responsibilities may affect their need for flexibility in their work schedules. Some find that they need to arrive late, leave early, and use vacation time for caregiving. Some older adults postpone retirement because of financial responsibilities for family members who are dependent on their support, while others cut back their hours or leave the workforce earlier than expected because of their caregiving responsibilities,” it said.