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Thursday, April 20, 2017

About one-in-four U.S. workers have taken leave to care for a seriously ill family member

By Kim Parker  (c ) Pew Research Center

Family caregivng
About one-in-four Americans (23%) say there has been a time when they took leave from work to care for a family member with a serious health condition. An additional one-in-four say that if this hasn’t happened to them already, it’s at least somewhat likely that it will in the future.

The current debate over paid leave often focuses on maternity and paternity leave. Yet among adults who were employed in the past two years, more took time off from work to care for a sick family member (11%) than did so following the birth or adoption of a child (7%), according to a new Pew Research Center study.

Roughly two-thirds of all adults (67%) say workers should receive paid leave when they need to take time off to care for a sick family member, and most (60%) of those who took family leave in the past two years say they did receive at least partial pay while they were out of work.

But the vast majority of those who received at least partial pay (86%) say some of that pay came from vacation, sick leave or personal time off. Relatively few of these workers (15%) say they received pay from a family and medical leave benefit provided by their employer.

Workers who took maternity or paternity leave with at least some pay in the past two years are significantly more likely to report that they were paid, at least in part, through an employer-provided family or medical leave policy (28%).

Family-leave takers are generally more satisfied with the amount of time they took off from work than parental-leave takers – half of those who took leave from work to care for a sick family member say they took about as much time off as they needed or wanted to, compared with 36% of those who took maternity or paternity leave.

Even so, four-in-ten family-leave takers say they took less time off than they needed or wanted to. And among those who say they took too little time off, family-leave takers are much more likely than parental-leave takers to say they came back to work sooner than they needed or wanted to because they were worried about job security.

For example, 62% of family-leave takers who came back to work earlier than they would have liked say they thought they might risk losing their job if they took more time off. Only 37% of maternity- and paternity-leave takers say the same.

In addition, among those who returned to work sooner than they wanted to, family-leave takers were more likely than those who took parental leave to say they worried about the impact their time away was having on their co-workers.

About half of family-leave takers who took less leave than they would have liked (46%) say they felt badly about their co-workers taking on additional work in their absence, compared with 31% those returning from maternity or paternity leave.

There are some intriguing gender dynamics underlying family caregiving patterns. A narrow majority of all Americans (54%) say that when a family member has a serious health condition, caregiving responsibilities fall equally on men and women, but nearly as many (45%) say these responsibilities fall mainly on women. Most women (59%) say that family caregiving responsibilities fall mainly on women, while only 29% of men agree with this assessment. A majority of men (69%) say family caregiving responsibilities fall equally on men and women.

However, women and men who were employed in the past two years are equally likely to say that they have taken time off to care for a sick family member during that time, but women report having taken slightly more time off, on average, than men.

And women are much more likely than men to say that they were the primary caregiver for their sick family member. Roughly two-thirds (65%) of female family-leave takers say they provided more care for their sick family member than anyone else in the family. Only 44% of male family-leave takers say they were the main caregiver.

For women who have taken family leave in the past two years, a plurality (38%) say they were caring for a sick parent. Fewer say they were caring for a spouse or partner (25%) or caring for a child younger than 18 (20%).

Men who took family leave in the past two years are just as likely to say they were caring for a spouse or partner (33%) as they are to say they were caring for a parent (34%). Some 13% of men say they took time off from work to care for a sick child.

Among all workers who have taken time off from work in the past two years to care for a sick family member, about six-in-ten say the experience did not have much of an impact on their career.

 For those who do think it made a difference, men are more than twice as likely as women to say the impact on their career was positive (26% vs. 10%). Men are also more likely than women to say their family benefitted from their taking time off from work: 79% of men, compared with 67% of women, say taking time away from work to care for a sick family member had a positive impact on their family.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Older Entrepreneurs an Untapped Force for Economic Stability




Older entrepeneurs force for economic stabilityEntrepreneurs over 50 years of age offer significant “golden dividends” for economies wrestling with aging populations that place a disproportionate burden on resources—according to a new report from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor

Newswise, April 3, 2017— The number of older adults who are self-employed outweighs that of young adults, suggesting that people of 50 years and older still have a significant role to play in economies around the world—this according to a new Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Special Report on Senior Entrepreneurship.

This new report, co-sponsored by Babson College, Universidad del Desarrollo, Universiti Tun Abdul Razak, and Korea Enterprise Foundation, draws on data collected between 2009 and 2016 on entrepreneurial activity in 104 countries.

The sample comprises 1,540,397 adults aged 18 to 80 years old across five regions of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Middle East and North Africa (MENA), South East Asia (SEA), Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), and the European culture countries (ECC). Visit http://www.gemconsortium.org/
  
“Entrepreneurial success and prosperity has no age limits,” said Mike Herrington, Executive Director of GEM.

“While the traditional perception of entrepreneurship is that it is a young person’s endeavor, the data are showing us that, in many aspects, older people are a significant entrepreneurial force. But this segment is largely an overlooked and undervalued resource.”

According to the report, 18 percent of adults between the ages of 50 and 64 and 13 percent between the ages of 65 and 80 are self-employed compared to just 11 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 29. Eighteen percent of “middle-aged” entrepreneurs (aged 30 to 49) are self-employed.

Yet entrepreneurship programs and support are, by and large, geared towards younger segments. The report suggests that specialized support for older entrepreneurs could help unlock benefits for economic stability—especially in economies where senior entrepreneurship is underrepresented.

Regionally, senior entrepreneurship, in terms of both entrepreneurial intention (the percentage of the adult population who intend to start a business within the next three years) and early-stage entrepreneurial activity (those who have started and are running a business that is less than 42 months-old), is highest in Sub-Saharan Africa (35 percent/19 percent), Latin America and the Caribbean (27 percent/14 percent), and MENA (23 percent/7 percent) and lowest in the ECC (six percent/four percent).

Just 14 percent of seniors in South East Asia report entrepreneurial intentions and nine percent are actually engaged in an early-staged venture. These numbers are consistent with GEM findings that entrepreneurship levels are typically higher in factor-driven economies where the types of businesses started often require lower skills and less money to get off the ground.

According to Thomas Schøtt, Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Southern Denmark and lead author of the report, senior entrepreneurs bring with them a host of benefits—economic, social, and environmental—that the report labels “golden dividends”. These include relieving pressure of an aging population on the state and job creation.

“Every older adult who is self-employed is less likely to place a financial burden on society and to contribute to the economy of that country through the payment of taxes and by remaining economically active.

“Additionally, senior entrepreneurs are marginally more likely than their younger counterparts to employ more than five people so they are not only creating jobs for themselves but for others as well,” said Schøtt.

Additional economic benefits come from the fact that seniors who act as informal investors also tend to invest considerably more money compared to younger adults. Almost two thirds (63 percent) of older business angels invest more than the median of all investments.

And elderly entrepreneurs across all phases of entrepreneurial activity report substantially higher levels of satisfaction with both their life and their job, compared to elderly routine employees. This translates into better health and fewer demands being placed on social service/entitlement programs.

Schøtt said that these findings have particular significance for economies struggling with the perceived burden of an aging population.

“With approximately 16 percent of the world’s population 55 or older, the issues of entrepreneurial activity at these more advanced ages directly affect more than a 1.2 billion people,” he said.

“The world is beginning to understand how senior entrepreneurs with their wealth of work and life experience, deep networks, and eagerness to remain productive are a huge untapped resource.

“It is time that we stop thinking about this demographic as a liability and instead recognize them as assets, and work across sectors to help break down barriers to unleash their potential.

“It is imperative for governments to create innovative, inter-agency frameworks to marshal resources, catalyze strategic thinking, prioritize new policy, and create actionable research to advance this movement.”

Additional Findings
• Older individuals have the lowest confidence in their own ability to start and run a business, but risk-willingness is highest amongst older age groups.
• Older adults are slightly more likely to be social entrepreneurs than entrepreneurs in the other three age groups. This suggests that people may retire from jobs as employees or as self-employed, but may continue to pursue ventures with a social or community objective. This is an interesting finding, as social entrepreneurship is often associated with young changemakers who are idealistic in nature.
• Gender has an influence on senior entrepreneurial behavior. Entrepreneurial intentions are lowest among senior women compared to the other three age groups, with fewer than seven women expressing the intention to start a business for every ten men in this age group. Older people report the widest gender gap in terms of early-stage entrepreneurial activity, with only six women engaged in start-up activity for every ten male entrepreneurs in this age group.

About the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM)
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) was initiated in 1999 as a joint venture of Babson College and the London Business School. Starting with 10 participating economies, the project expanded to include 73 economies in its 2014 survey. The latest survey spans 62 economies. GEM is the largest and most developed research program on entrepreneurship in the world. GEM is unique because, unlike most entrepreneurship data sets that measure newer and smaller firms, GEM studies the behavior of individuals with respect to starting and managing businesses.

GEM academic teams in each participating economy are members of an exclusive research project that provides access to the collective knowledge of some of the world’s most renowned researchers and institutions involved in entrepreneurship research. At a time in history when individual entrepreneurial activity may hold the key to transforming the global economy and discouraging ingrained economic disparity in countries with minimal economic opportunity, GEM data has influenced national economic policies and continues to expand its collaborative role. Global sponsors of the research include Babson College (lead sponsor) in the United States, Universidad Del Desarrollo in Chile, Universiti Tun Abdul Razak in Malaysia, and Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Evidence Supports Benefits of Therapeutic Riding and Hippotherapy

The researchers reviewed and analyzed previous studies of horseback riding interventions for patients with various types of motor (movement) dysfunction—for example, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and stroke.

 A comprehensive review identified 16 studies evaluating two types of interventions: therapeutic riding, defined as some type of adaptive or modified horseback riding with a therapeutic goal; or hippotherapy, which uses the movement of the horse for therapeutic purposes.

Eight studies assessed the effects of equine-assisted therapies for children with cerebral palsy, including a total of 434 patients. Four studies evaluated the use of these interventions to improve mobility in older adults with multiple health problems and disabilities, 90 patients; and three studies addressed patients with multiple sclerosis, 52 patients. One study, including 20 patients, assessed the use of hippotherapy for patients after a stroke.

The results suggested that therapeutic riding or hippotherapy had a "significant positive impact" in all groups of patients studied. Individual studies reported small but significant improvements in outcomes such as balance, motor function, posture, gait, muscle symmetry, pelvic movement, psychosocial factors, and quality of life.

Eight studies provided sufficient data for pooled analysis (meta-analysis) of specific measures of balance and gross motor function. On a measure of balance, the effects of therapeutic riding were not significantly greater than for other types of therapy.

There was evidence of positive effects on several dimensions of gross motor function, but no statistically significant effect on the overall motor function score.

Mrs. Stergiou comments, "The evidence for therapeutic riding and hippotherapy is encouraging, but with gaps in that there are very few studies of these interventions in the international literature." She notes that the ability to perform meta-analysis is limited by the small size of the studies and the different measurements used.

Within these limitations, the available evidence suggests that therapeutic riding and hippotherapy can be beneficial for patients with neuromotor disabilities. 

The studies show improvement on measures of walking and gross motor function in children with cerebral palsy. The research also provides evidence of increased balance and leg muscle strength in older adults, including stroke survivors.

Further studies will be needed to examine how horseback riding interventions affect other important outcomes, such as daily activity levels and patient self-competence.

"Equine-assisted therapies potentially provide advantage for cognitive, emotional, and social well-being," Dr. Stergiou and coauthors write. "Individuals who participate have the opportunity to simultaneously experience, benefit and enjoy the outdoors, which might not otherwise be readily available."


Article: "Therapeutic Effects of Horseback Riding Interventions: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis." (doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000000726)


Caring for the Caregiver


Newswise, March 13, 2017 - During cancer treatment, the main focus is on the patient. However, a cancer diagnosis affects the entire family, including caregivers.

A caregiver is any person who supports a patient during treatment; this can be a spouse, partner, sibling, son, daughter, or friend. Taking on the role of a caregiver can change the dynamic in a relationship. Partners who were once equals can now have an imbalance and a child can often need to take on a parental role. Often the caregiver’s needs can be overlooked.

It is important for the caregiver to keep their body and mind healthy in order to provide the best care to the patient. While this seems easier to say than do, working in some self-care does not have to take a lot of time or money.

Ways to put yourself first:

Let go of guilt. It is natural to feel guilty for taking time for yourself when your loved one needs so much. Try to remember why all airlines instruct passengers to put their own oxygen mask on first before helping others. The reason behind this is simple: You cannot care for someone else when you are depleted. It is important to acknowledge guilty feelings and find a safe place to share them, but do not allow them to stop you from caring for yourself.

Build in fun. Create a list of activities that make you happy. Playing your favorite song, taking a bubble bath, or going for a walk are just some of the possibilities.

Relax. Simple breathing exercises, guided imagery, meditation, and proper sleep habits. There’s even an app for that! You can download apps like Headspace and Calm to help guide you in relaxation practice.

Self-compassion. Cut yourself some slack! When you care for yourself and a loved one, it is normal to experience stress. Recognizing this stress in a non-judgmental way and taking small steps to combat it is the first step in self-care.


Your oncology social worker is there to help patients and caregivers and can help you make a personalized plan to cope with the burden of being a caregiver.