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Healthcare Key Findings – Jan/Feb 2011

Sandwich Generations’ Concerns Healthcare and the Aging Workplace
Americans’ Pantries, Then and Now Older Adults and Sex
Employer Wellness Programs

Sandwich Generations’ Concerns

The Sandwich Generation is defined as mid-life adults who have adult children (ages 23-28) and aging parents. About 16% provide some type of financial assistance to both a parent and an adult child. They express more concern about a child not becoming financially independent (11%) than with supporting their parents (1%).
Parents cite college debt (32%) and unemployment (31%) as the most common reasons their children are not supporting themselves. Other reasons include overspending (25%) and consumer debt (19%).
Sandwich Generations Greatest Financial Concerns

Americans’ Pantries, Then and Now

According to Whole Foods Market, organic and natural foods made up of 27% of Americans’ grocery shopping purchases in 2010, compared to 20% 2009. According to Baby Boomers – who ran households 1980 and still so in 2010 – the most common items they had on hand in 2010 were:

  • Fresh fruit (83%)
  • Milk (82%)
  • Fresh vegetables (79%)
  • Wheat or whole-grain bread (77%)
  • Canned or frozen vegetables (69%)

In 1980, the most common items on-hand were:

  • Milk (89%)
  • Canned or frozen vegetables (83%)
  • White bread (74%)
  • Soda/pop (74%)
  • Iceberg lettuce (66%)

Employer Wellness Programs

Despite spending more on employee wellness programs in 2010, only 37% of U.S. employers say they measured their program’s effectiveness, according to Buck Consultants. Employers spent 35% more – about $220 – on each employee who participated in a wellness program in 2010 compared to 2009. Eleven percent of U.S. respondents spent more than $500 per employee per year on wellness incentive rewards, with the largest rewards reported at $3,000 per employee.
Employers’ say their goals for wellness programs are to reduce the cost of providing health care, improve worker productivity and reduce absenteeism. Of the 40% of U.S. employers who offered a program, 45% reported success in slowing health care cost increases, with a typical reduction of two to five percentage points per year.

Healthcare and the Aging Workplace

Each day during 2012, approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65 years old. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of older employees in the workforce will increase by at least 80% from 2010 to 2016. Aging adults typically face health issues like multiple chronic conditions, stress and depression, all of which can impact work performance and increase employer healthcare costs. In fact, the healthcare costs for someone 65 years old are typically about four times greater than those for a 40-year-old person.

Older Adults and Sex

More than one-quarter of adults aged and older (28%) had sex at least once a week during the prior six months, down from 38% om 1999, according to AARP. They are also less likely to kiss or hug (58%, down from 65%) and sexual touching or caressing (44%, down from 55%) compared to 1999. Over this same period, these practicing self-stimulating grew to 22% from 12%.


  • Three-quarters of workers (74%) do not like spending so much time sitting at work. Women spend an average of 27 hours a week sitting in front of a computer or mobile device; men spend 23 hours.
  • The majority of Americans (85%) exercise at least one day a week, with 74% working out at home and 20% going to a gym.
  • Most smokers (54%) say they would not stop smoking if higher taxes were levied on cigarettes, compared to 16% who say they would be very likely to quit based on higher taxes.

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