Sex, Age Tied to Happiness?

By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter
By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter

Knoxville (WVLT) - Whether you're happy may depend on your age and gender.

An independent poll finds women from the mid-30's to mid-50's are less likely than most Americans to be happy.

Only about 20% of women described themselves as very happy, compared with 34% for the US population overall.

Money, time and health concerns were the primary reasons cited in the survey, that and the fact that these women find themselves in what's being called the "sandwich generation."

"They're working with careers, they're juggling that with child care responsibilities and also caring for aging parents," explains clinical social worker Bobby Brown.

Later marriages, later child-bearing and longer life spans have more women taking care of their children and their parents at the same time.

Researchers say those sandwich years don't even go away by the 60's anymore... It's possible a 60-year-old woman could be taking care of a 16-year-old child and a 92-year old parent.

"The sandwich population, you know you've got those pressures from both sides kind of squeezing in on you, and you're trying to do your best to be super mom, super wife and super daughter and it can be overwhelming," Brown says.

According to national studies, women do about 70 percent of the caregiving for elderly relatives.

More than half of the 35 to 54-year-old women surveyed were concerned about an elderly relative's health.

And those who had sick parents were much more likely to feel depressed and worry about having enough time for family members.

And about two out of three work.

Clinical social worker bobby brown says as people live longer, it's a problem that will only get worse.

"It's a stressor that's going to be here from now until the end of time, I think it's only going to become more of a struggle for an individual if they're not starting to already reach out," says Brown.

And, a recent study of employed adults found providing elder care was linked to feeling overworked, but taking care of children was not.

Brown says counseling and referrals to assisted living facilities for the elderly can help.

About one out of four women surveyed said they or relatives had sought help from aging services.


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