The Hartford Newsroom

Research By The Hartford And ComPsych Finds Baby Boomers’ Caregiving Duties Impact Jobs And Health

Stressed-out Sandwich Generation needs help, says insurer’s expert at conference

April 22, 2010
"We are concerned that many Boomers are either becoming sick or hurt as a result of prolonged stress"

SIMSBURY, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The demands of balancing a full-time job and caring for an injured or ill family member is a major source of stress for many Baby Boomers and is impacting their productivity and their health, according to new research by The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: HIG) and ComPsych Corporation.

The Hartford’s Barbara Campbell announced the survey’s findings today at the Behavioral Risk in the Workplace Conference organized by the Disability Management Employer Coalition and offered recommendations on how employers can provide the Sandwich Generation with much needed assistance.

“Our research found a troubling trend of Baby Boomer caregivers being pushed to their limits. They are worried about their ability to manage both their work and home life,” said Campbell, regional vice president in The Hartford’s Group Benefits Division. “We hope to raise awareness among employers about this risk to their employees’ health and productivity because they play a key role in bringing workers’ lives back into balance.”

A majority of Baby Boomers said they are stressed out about caregiving and, at the same time, are worried about how their caregiving is impacting their job, according to The Hartford’s survey of Americans born between 1946 and 1964 who accessed ComPsych’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Conducted in February 2010, the joint survey by The Hartford and ComPsych found younger Baby Boomers, ages 45 to 54, are carrying the largest burden of family care responsibilities, with more than half saying they’ve taken time off from work to due to their caregiving responsibilities.

Work Worries & Caregiving Concerns

More than 80 percent of Baby Boomers said they feel moderate to high levels of stress related to the care or support they are giving to children, spouses and/or parents.

In addition, nearly half of young Baby Boomers surveyed (46.6 percent) reported feeling worried about how caregiving is impacting their job. It was their No. 1 concern, while older Baby Boomers, who are 55 and older, were most concerned about postponing retirement as a result of their role as caregiver.

Younger Baby Boomers’ worries could be linked to the fact that more than half of this group (68 percent) said they have missed work or left early from work due to their caregiving duties in the last six months. Half of those workers said they missed eight to 16 hours of work in the previous six month.

“A day or two of work might not seem like much,” Campbell noted. “But in today’s business environment of streamlined workforces, any absence can impact productivity.”

More than three-quarters of Baby Boomers reported taking up to 16 hours of paid vacation time to care for another person. “Our research found that while many Baby Boomers are under pressure on all sides, they are using their paid time-off as an extension of their hectic lives rather than a vacation,” Campbell said.

Campbell said an analysis of leave data by The Hartford1 found that Baby Boomers take more leaves due to their illness than any other age group of workers. “We are concerned that many Boomers are either becoming sick or hurt as a result of prolonged stress,” she said. “In addition, stress can impact their ability to recover from an illness or injury.”

TLC for Caregivers

Campbell offered these recommendations to employers on how they can help relieve the pressure felt by Baby Boomer caregivers:

  • Assessment – Analyze data about your employees’ absences. You must first understand the issues affecting your team in order to effectively provide help.
  • Benefits – Review the health and wellness benefits being offered to your staff. Consider offering EAP services, which provide legal, financial and emotional support. Another option is telecommuting and/or flexible work arrangements, which would help with the issue of episodic caregiving, a common occurrence found by The Hartford’s survey.
  • Communication – Raise awareness among your workforce about the tools available to help with work-life balance. Frequent communication can reinforce the message that employees can access the EAP whenever they need help.

About ComPsych

ComPsych® Corporation is the world’s largest provider of employee assistance programs (EAPs) and is the leading provider of fully integrated EAP, behavioral health, wellness, work-life, crisis intervention services and HR and FMLA administration services under the GuidanceResources® brand. ComPsych provides services to more than 13,000 organizations covering 33 million individuals throughout the U.S. and more than 100 countries. By creating “Build-to-Suit” programs, ComPsych helps employers attract and retain employees as well as improve employee productivity and performance.

About The Hartford

Celebrating nearly 200 years of helping its customers achieve what’s ahead, The Hartford (NYSE: HIG) is an insurance and wealth management company. Through its unique focus on customer needs, the company serves businesses and consumers by providing the products and solutions they need to protect their assets and income from risks and manage their wealth and retirement needs. A Fortune 100 company, The Hartford is recognized widely for its service expertise and as one of the world's most ethical companies. More information on the company and its financial performance is available at www.thehartford.com.

HIG-L

Some of the statements in this release may be considered forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We caution investors that these forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results may differ materially. Investors should consider the important risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ. These important risks and uncertainties include those discussed in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, our 2009 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the other filings we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We assume no obligation to update this release, which speaks as of the date issued.

1. The Hartford’s analysis of leave data for 91,080 individual employees at 171 employer clients.

Contact:

The Hartford
Kelly J. Carter, 860-843-9420
kelly.carter@hartfordlife.com
or
ComPsych
Jennifer Hudson, 312-595-4048
jhudson@compsych.com