Monday, February 17, 2020
The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) this week ran 2 stories that caught my eye for this blog. First, my friend and colleague Professor Bauer sent me this article: Growing Risk to America’s Seniors: Themselves focuses on the issue of self-neglect. Here's a brief excerpt
Self-neglect cases involved 144,296 people across the country, accounting for more than half the reports of alleged elder abuse or neglect investigated by adult protective services programs in 2018, according to a new report released by the Department of Health and Human Services. That was more than the next five most numerous categories—neglect, financial exploitation, emotional abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse—combined.
The federal government doesn’t have comparable data for previous years, but several state and local service providers say they are seeing the self-neglect problem swell, stretching their resources. Virginia’s county and city programs, for example, investigated 18% more self-neglect cases in 2019 than in 2015. In the District of Columbia, such cases rose by 60% between fiscal years 2016 and 2019, according to the D.C. Department of Human Services. Iowa saw a 55% increase between fiscal years 2017 and 2019, while Ohio counted 19% more between fiscal years 2014 and 2019, according to state officials.
Next, a story focusing on the sandwich generation, offers poignant views of adult children's plight, ‘I Feel Very Torn Between My Child and My Dad’—Demands Intensify for the ‘Sandwich Generation’.
"New demographic forces are redefining what it means to be a “sandwich-generation” caregiver. Women are having children later in life. Longevity—and, with that, the incidence of dementia—is increasing. Families are smaller, and two-career couples are more common. All these trends are converging and intensifying the demands on those caring for generations on either side of them."
Now, most of the people in this type of caregiving role are in their 30s, 40s, and early 50s, according to a 2019 study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and Caring Across Generations. Two-thirds of them have jobs, and on average work 36 hours a week and devote 22 hours a week to caring for an adult, in addition to raising children, according to the study.
Often, responsibility for care is falling on them because their boomer parents are more likely to be single than those in previous generations, without a spouse to pitch in. The proportion of those caring for their parents as well as children under the age of 18 doubled to 26% in 2015 from 12.6% in 1999, a 2017 study showed. But even as more of these caregivers step up, it may not be enough.