Many people drag office work along on vacations. Now, research shows a lot of people are using their paid vacation time for a different kind of non-recreational duty–to take care of family members’ medical needs.
A recent survey shows many folks are using their paid vacations for caregiving–to manage illnesses, elder care, checkups, etc. About 61% of employees had taken at least a day of paid vacation time during the preceding year to care for another person, according to a survey of 862 employees age 45 and older by The Hartford Financial Services Group and ComPsych Corp.; more than 9% had taken a week or more. Clearly, workers “are using their paid time off as an extension of their hectic lives, rather than a vacation,” Barbara Campbell, a regional vice president for Hartford, said in a news release on the subject.
Hospital stays are shorter, requiring families to pitch in with home care afterward, as author Paula Span reports in a recent book, “When the Time Comes.”
To be sure there are benefits for caregivers, who may take satisfaction in the warmth and intimacy that comes with shouldering family duties. Still, some of us may feel squeezed between our professional selves and our caregiver selves, left with little time to take a break from the grind.