Mark Dolliver’s Takes: The Caring Kind

The phrase “caring for one’s aging parents” evokes an image of stressful responsibility—which, in more than a few cases, is entirely the case. But a USA Today/ABC News poll finds that caregiving isn’t as widely burdensome as the conventional wisdom suggests. Polling baby boomers who have a living parent or parent-in-law, it found 37 percent of them providing “ongoing personal-care assistance” to the old folks. Eleven percent give “ongoing financial assistance.” (There’s some overlap, as 7 percent provide both kinds of aid.) Those who help in either way were asked whether doing so has created stress in their own lives. Just 9 percent said it has caused a “great deal of stress,” while 36 percent reported “some stress.” But 54 percent said this role has “not caused any stress.” Likewise, when those who provide financial or personal-care assistance to parents were asked whether they and their families have had to make sacrifices in their own quality of life, just 11 percent said they’ve endured “major sacrifices.” Another 54 percent said the role entailed “minor sacrifices,” and 35 percent cited “no sacrifices.”

The evil white powder

Americans’ diets are replete with unhealthy ingredients, but consumers tend to focus on a villain-in-chief in such matters. Sugar now stands high on the list of candidates for that status. Polling by The NPD Group finds “44 percent of American homemakers are extremely or very concerned about serving foods with sugar.” Moreover, “nearly seven out of 10 adults say they want to cut down or avoid sugar completely, and about four out of 10 adults say they check food labels regularly for sugar.” More than half said they are “aware and concerned” about high-fructose corn syrup.