AARP Releases Results of Statewide Public Opinion Poll

PRINCETON, NJ –  Today, AARP released the results of a public opinion poll of 1,000 randomly selected New Jersey residents age 40 and older concerning their experiences as family caregivers and their views on policies to provide paid sick days for working caregivers. 

“The results are clear,” said AARP New Jersey State Director Jim Dieterle.  “New Jerseyans of all stripes support paid sick days for working family caregivers.   80% of respondents support employer provided paid sick leave. 90% of democrats support employer provided paid sick leave, 78% of independents and 71% of republicans.”

Most New Jersey residents age 40 and older (78%) report that being cared for at home with caregiver assistance is the ideal situation when the basic tasks of life become more difficult due to aging or illness.  More than half of NJ residents age 40 and older say they have provided care, either currently or in the past.  

In New Jersey, the typical family caregiver is a married woman in her 50’s who is likely to be employed.  Most NJ caregivers (current and former) age 40 and older report that they have at times modified their work schedules by taking time off or going to work early or late, to provide care (61%).  Of those who have gone into work early or late, or have taken time off from their job in order to care for an adult loved one, 30% report they have had to do so at least weekly.  Approximately one third report they have had to alter their work schedule several times a month. 

A growing proportion of New Jerseyans will need to provide what is known as eldercare for an older relative at some point during their working lives. Many others may need to provide care for younger adult family members with disabilities. Such family care and support often necessitates taking either scheduled or unscheduled time off from work, which some employers allow. 

“It is no surprise we are seeing strong movement at the municipal and state level to enact employer-provided paid sick day policies,” said Dieterle.  “The best protection for working caregivers is having access to paid leave to care for an older relative or a family member with a disability, yet too many New Jersey workers do not have access to paid sick days.  Enactment of these ordinances and ultimately statewide legislation requiring paid sick days for working family caregivers is needed to allow our older residents to stay in their homes and communities.”