Crain’s: Proportion of Boomers Caring for Parents Quadruples

Though some years from retirement, many boomers are forced to look at long-term care solutions not for themselves, but for their parents, according to an article by Crain’s Chicago Business. 

A study from Metropolitan Life found that the percentage of adults who provide personal car or some form of financial assistance to a parent has quadrupled to 45%, up from 12% over the past fifteen years. 

A growing number of boomers providing care for a parent has become what Crain’s term’s the “trailing parent,” playing off of the idea of the “trailing spouse.” Conventionally referring to spouses who follow each other to different cities because of one spouse’s work, the “trailing parent” carries the same notions, only in this situation the adult shifts their career to better accommodate the needs of an aging parent. 


The article from Crain’s Chicago Business discusses the job sacrifices many adults consider in order to provide care for aging parents. 

Crain’s Chicago Business reports:

A June 2011 study by Metropolitan Life found the percentage of adult children who provide personal care or financial assistance to a parent has nearly quadrupled, to 45 percent, to 9.7 million, from 12 percent over the past 15 years.


The trend has implications for careers. Thirty-nine percent of caregivers have passed up promotions because of an inability to balance work and time with elderly relatives, according to an August study by the Working Mother Research Institute. Thirty-sx percent of those surveyed said caregiving or supervision of an elderly parent’s care has affected their ability to get ahead in their careers. 

“The No. 1 reason executives don’t want to relocate is their children,” says Mary Kier, CEO of Cook Associated Executive Search in Chicago.” “But increasingly, the No. 2 reason is elderly or ailing parents or in-laws.” Ms. Kier says more executives are either rejecting jobs that require them to move or travel frequently, or they are seeking new positions that offer some kind of flexibility for elder care. 

 Read the full story here. 

Written by Jason Oliva

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