Study: Elder Care Harming Careers, Health Of U.S. Workforce

Five out of six Americans who work outside the home are forced to quit their jobs, retire prematurely, cut back their work hours or take sick leave, vacation leave, or a leave of absence to take care of elderly relatives. That's the finding of a study conducted by the National Center on Women & Aging at Brandeis University. The study estimates that 22.4 million U.S. families -- nearly a quarter of all households -- provide care to elderly relatives, and that informal, home-based care accounts for 80% of all long-term care in the U.S. In addition, 29% of elder caregivers said they passed up promotions, training opportunities, and new assignments because of their elder care responsibilities. Another 22% said caregiving prevented them from acquiring new skills. Equally as troubling: almost 75% of those surveyed said caring for elderly relatives had harmed their health.

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