Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Philosophy


Philosophy and Religion

First Advisor

Deborah Mower

Second Advisor

Neil Manson

Third Advisor

Steven Skultety

Relational Format



The Center for Disease Control has referred to the group of people, aged 18-35, who have an elderly dependent they care for (by which I mean physical, emotional, or mental assistance necessary for the elderly dependent’s continued living) and are entering the workforce as the “sandwich” generation. These people are at the age where they may be simultaneously raising a child and taking care of an elderly family member. It has been estimated that, as of 2006, 17% of the U.S. workforce belong to the sandwich generation. In addition to the sandwich generation, there are 44 million people in the U.S. who are taking care of elderly family members without compensation. Of these 44 million people, 61% are employed. This need for care has direct implications on the effectiveness of employees as well as the effectiveness and profits of corporations. It is estimated that the average cost (from elements such as workplace interruptions, days without pay, etc.) that an employee will incur is $2000 a month while it is estimated that employers (stemming from costs associated with finding and training new employees, loss of productivity during working days, etc.) incur approximately $3.8 billion annually. Further, it is believed that this problem is only in its infancy. The same study indicates that children who were 10 years old (as of 2006) had a 50% chance of living to be 100 years old. The overlap between the problem of the growing population of elderly dependents and the workplace gives rise to the question: “Do employers have any responsibilities to employees in aiding the alleviation of this problem?”

Included in

Philosophy Commons



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