Caring For Aging Relatives Taking Toll on Boomers, According to BMO Study



    TORONTO, March 29 /CNW/ - Canadian baby boomers are feeling the squeeze
of being "the Sandwich Generation," and for many, it's beginning to compromise
their lives.
    According to a recent survey of 2,195 Canadians between the ages of 45
and 60 conducted for BMO Financial Group by Ipsos Reid, of the one-third (34
per cent) of boomers who currently assist aging relatives:
    
    -  66 per cent say it has had some negative impact on their lives
    -  31 per cent say they have less time for themselves
    -  20 per cent have had to take time off work
    -  19 per cent say that they have been impacted financially.
    

    Adding to the pressure, 44 per cent of these boomers also financially
support their children. Yet, despite the challenges, more than half (59 per
cent) of caregivers say assisting aging family members has strengthened their
relationships.
    "This research corroborates other studies we have conducted over the past
two years that paint a picture of a generation juggling the needs of parents
and children, along with their own priorities," said Kris Vikmanis, Head of
Retirement Market, BMO Financial Group. "As Canadians live longer, this trend
will continue to grow, so it's important for boomers who are currently
providing care for aging relatives or expecting to do so in the future, to
start planning for the impact this can have on their finances and lifestyle."
    Yet fewer than one in 10 (7 per cent) have asked for financial advice
about budgeting and planning for the assistance they provide to their family
members. According to the survey, boomers who are not currently assisting
aging family members, but who expect they will at some point, are not planning
either.
    "Boomers tell us that they recognize retirement planning is important,
however our research has indicated, time and again, that many aren't taking
the necessary steps to plan for their future. The notion of factoring in costs
for a family member's care or their own care is not necessarily top of mind,
but it should be," said Vikmanis.

    
    Boomers not planning ahead for caring for relatives or themselves
    -  More than one-third (36 per cent) of boomers who are not currently
       caring for relatives, expect to in the future
    -  Yet only one in four (26 per cent) are planning financially to provide
       this care
    -  Despite these family pressures, only 26 per cent of boomers have a
       plan in the event they personally need assistance when they get older.
    

    "Canadians are facing competing priorities and concerns. We want to
assist them with identifying and addressing their key issues to help them
appropriately plan for and manage them," added Vikmanis.

    BMO helps clients who are assisting aging relatives
    BMO Harris Private Banking offers a unique wealth management service,
called enCircle(TM), designed to lessen the burden of financial management on
seniors and their adult children. enCircle advisors work with clients and
their families to tailor a plan that can include bill payment, investment
management, estate planning, coordinating the filing of tax returns, applying
for travel insurance, travel banking, as well as home and health care
education. Since this service was launched in May 2005, the response from
clients has been extremely positive, confirming that professional assistance
with managing financial affairs later in life is valuable to both seniors and
their families.
    In addition, BMO Financial Group recently launched a podcast series
examining emerging issues facing Canadian boomers who are approaching
retirement. The latest episode focuses on caregiving and is hosted by Pamela
Wallin, a journalist for more than 30 years and a member of BMO Financial
Group's Advisory Council on Retirement. The podcast features Dr. Amy D'Aprix,
a gerontologist who began working with caregivers and seniors more than 20
years ago. The podcast can be downloaded from BMO's retirement website at:
www.bmo.com/regeneration.

    
    Additional Survey Highlights

    Differences between the sexes
    -  More women than men (31% vs. 23%) said they provide emotional support
       to an aging relative
    -  More men than women (22% vs. 16%) said they have been financially
       impacted as a result of caring for aging family members
    -  Almost twice as many women than men (18% vs. 10%) responded that
       caring for older relatives has had a negative impact on their health
    -  Women were twice as likely (12% vs. 6%) to respond that assisting an
       aging relative has impacted the job or career path they have chosen.
    

    Regional differences

    Respondents were asked: Which of the following statements apply when it
comes to assisting aging family members?

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Activity                       Average  BC    AB   SK/MB  ON    QC    ATL
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You provide emotional support     27%   29%   29%   36%   29%   19%   26%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You provide transportation        18    16    15    22    21    13    19
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You do errands                    18    16    19    22    19    15    17
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You manage their finances         10    11     9    12    11     8    13
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You prepare meals                  6     6     5     8     6     5     5
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Family member is living with you   5     5     4     6     5     5     6
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    How has helping your aging family member(s) impacted your life?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Impact                         Average  BC    AB   SK/MB  ON    QC    ATL
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Strengthened relationship         59%   59%   60%   66%   59%   51%   71%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Less time for yourself            31    34    34    31    32    28    29
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Taken time off work               20    22    31    21    22    11    18
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Financial impact                  19    17    25    26    17    22    13
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Impacted your health              14    14     9    12    18    11    14
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Impacted your career               9     8     6     7    11     7    11
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Full results available upon request.
    




For further information:

For further information: JoAnne Hayes, Toronto, joanne.hayes@bmo.com,
(416) 867-3996; Lucie Gosselin, Montreal, lucie.gosselin@bmo.com, (514)
877-1101; Laurie Grant, Vancouver, laurie.grant@bmo.com, (604) 665-7596;
Internet: www.bmo.com/regeneration


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