Millennials are often accused of being a selfish generation focused solely on getting their own needs met. However, this is not a complete picture. While trying to achieve their own goals, millennials play a much bigger role in caregiving for older adults than any other generation. Sadly, they don’t get credit for this. One out of four family caregivers in the U.S. is a millennial. As Baby Boomers age and need more support, this young group is becoming an increasingly important part of the caregiving workforce
One in three young people in America provide unpaid care to an adult friend or relative. They do this while pursuing educational goals, career advancement, relationships and social connections. Another third of Millennials, ages 18-39 believe they will be providing this kind of support in the next five years. Nearly three quarters of millennial caregivers are employed and 53% work full time. Millennials also spend an average of 21 hours per week on caregiving. This is the equivalent of a part time job. More than one in four millennials spends over 20 hours each week providing care, and roughly one in five provides care for at least 40 hours each week.
Recasting the “me-first” Millennial image with a more accurate one, the SCAN Foundation has launched a campaign called Do You Give A Care? Creating a community of Millennials and Get X’ers who are empowered by knowledge and taking on the responsibility of caring for a loved one is their goal.
Talking To Millennial Caregivers
On this episode of the podcast I talk to two Millennials. The first is Rachel Hiles, who cares for her grandmother. The second, acting as co-host is my daughter Laura. The conversation is very interesting when you compare it to all the past guests who are older than myself. Many of them have also completed their caregiving journey. Most of my past guests have been female baby-boomers and I am a Gen X’er.
Blue Hydrangeas is an Alzheimer’s love story. It’s probably not what you think you’d like to read, but trust me, it is. It’s a beautifully written book with a very timely message is exactly what all of us, young and older need to read. This is a story of many living with dementia. It was important that their stories be told in a way that readers could relate to.
Speaking with the author, Marianne Sciucco was interesting and informative. Marianne is a writer who also happens to be a nurse. She has an extensive background in elder care as well as an extensive background caring for family stricken with Alzheimer’s or dementia. She brought her two passions together and writes about the intricate lives of people struggling with health and family issues.
The underlying message in the book is timely. Many of us will face the reality of what tp do when we can no longer care for our loved one at home. Many spouses, and even adult children make a promise that can’t be kept. As much as we’d love to allow our loved ones to stay in their home forever, most often this isn’t possible. People make this promise when the symptoms of Alzheimer’s are at their most manageable.
The characters in the book are in this exact predicament. Her memory issues coupled with his health issues make staying together in their home impossible. His solution is one that most people never consider but should.
When To Consider Assisted Living
Staying independent may require rethinking our living situation. For most senior American’s living in a large home in the suburbs presents many problems. If we are no longer able to drive how do we get where we need to go? Is public transportation a viable option? How far away is a bus stop? Can we rely on family or neighbors without causing them significant inconvenience?
How will we maintain the home and yard? Can we rely on hired help? How safe is the home as we age and become more frail? Are there stairs, steps or other tripping hazards? If we’re caring for someone with memory loss how do we keep them safe?
There are as many questions as there are people facing them. Completely eliminating the idea of moving to an assisted living community is common, but unwise. Taking care of someone with memory loss is a full time job. Maintaining your own health is equally important but frequently neglected in this situation. Add in maintaining a home and yard and you can see how quickly overwhelmed someone will become.
Hopefully, reading Blue Hydrangeas, and listening to this conversation will give you insight into why the decision to “stay home at all costs” might be too costly.
You can also listen to the informative episode dedicated to assisted living here . Our senior years need not be filled with stress and overwhelming responsibilities. Three are many ways to care for your loved one.