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Canada Daycare Looks After Elderly Parents While Children Work

Torn between work, child-rearing duties and caring for elderly parents, Canadians can now turn to a novel nursery service for help: a daycare for gramps and granny.

"It is really meant to support what we call the sandwich generation. Families right now are typically (comprised of) Baby Boomers who have children and elderly parents, and are constantly trying to support these two groups," said Victoria Sopik, president of Kids and Company.

The firm, which operates a dozen nurseries for children in this booming western Canadian metropolis, opened its first facility for the elderly in January.

Although it has not been entirely successful, the company is now considering expanding into Toronto and Montreal in the east.

So far, Kids and Company has partnered with a retirement home in a Calgary suburb, near one of its daycare facilities.

It has signed agreements with the Royal Bank of Canada, Deloitte and Touche, petroleum firms BP Canada and Nexen, as well as pipeline firm Enbridge to allow their employees to park their aged parents in its care during office hours.

The companies pay hundreds of dollars per day for the service. Their employees also pay a daily fee to access the service.

"We're trying to help our employees with their work-life balance, by offering them (a service) very similar to child care," said Colin Merrick, a spokesman for Deloitte.

"Elderly care is becoming more prevalent as a need for people," he said.

Some 1.7 million Canadians aged 45 to 64 are caring for elderly, severely ill or disabled parents, according to Statistics Canada, and more than 70 percent of them also have full-time jobs.

Even so, white collar workers in Canada's oil patch headquarters, for the moment, do not seem convinced of the need for this peculiar service. During a recent visit by AFP, there were no pensioners on site.

Sopik c onceded: "We haven't had as many people using it as we thought we would. We mostly had people calling to find out how they would use it, if they needed to."


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