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Looking elsewhere for care

Some of the country’s most time-squeezed citizens are looking elsewhere for help caring for elderly family members, with signs that this will only increase.

Research into the tasks and time demands of the sandwich generation found that 60% have used third-party services for help with elder care. Of those who haven’t employed such services, 62% said they expect to do so in the future.

The sandwich generation are those who find themselves in a support role for two generations - elderly family members and their own children. Research shows this group to be stretched, timewise and emotionally.

What the sandwich generation do

The research found that 33% of the sandwich generation help an elderly family member with tasks such as shopping, household maintenance, medical visits, doing laundry and meal preparation on a daily basis.

The research also showed that 46% help elderly family members with paperwork and financial administration and 38% coordinate care and support, such as booking medical appointments or organising tradespeople, either daily, a few times every week or once a week.

"The sandwich generation spend a remarkable amount of time in a caring capacity," says Public Trust General Manager Retail Julian Travaglia.

"The wide-ranging activities come at personal cost. On average, someone in the sandwich generation has 700 fewer hours a year for relaxation, personal activities and welfare than someone in the same age group who doesn’t have a dual caring role.

"It’s difficult because elderly family members don’t want to feel like a burden, while caregivers don’t want to feel like they’re shirking their duty by using third-party care providers."

Public Trust conducted the research to ensure its Personal Assist service was still in line with the needs of the general public.

"It may take a bit of a cultural shift before care and support services such a Personal Assist are more fully embraced, but I think it’s probably becoming an unavoidable reality," says Julian Travaglia.

A total of 501 New Zealanders aged 45-64 who care for someone over the age of 65 were surveyed in June 2018.

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