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More working families care for elders

Nearly 40 percent of older seniors rely on a working-age son or daughter for caregiving, says a new survey conducted by SCAN, a California company that offers managed-care plans for the elderly.

And this impacts the workplace: Of employees who care for elderly, about half said they had to alter daily work schedules (arriving late, leaving early, taking time off) because of the responsibility, according to a survey by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the American Association of Retired Persons.

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To retrieve those lost hours, says SCAN CEO Sam Ervin, employers may need to provide eldercare benefits - such as long-term care insurance or referral services - to help employees support aging relatives. "It will become more of a workplace issue ... especially as baby boomers continue to age and as their parents need help."

The SCAN study also found:

*76 percent of the seniors surveyed rely on a caregiver for assistance with daily activities.

*41 percent live alone.

*35 percent live with a spouse.

*24 percent live with family members.

SCAN interviewed some 1,500 seniors who averaged 82 years old for its survey.

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