Millennials as Caregivers

A surprising number of people from the millennial generation are involved with caretaking. About 25 percent of caregivers in the United States are in the 18 to 34 age range and are facing unique challenges. They often have little or no experience with serious illness, with making important health care decisions or with dealing with insurance. The typical millennial caregiver is a 27-year-old adult, equally likely to be male or female, giving care to a parent or grandparent needing help for a physical condition. A millennial caregiver is more likely to report that the loved one has an emotional or mental health condition that requires care. On average, this caregiver has been providing care for 2.8 years, spending 21.2 hours a week helping with 1.6 ADLs and 4 IADLs, with about a 50-50 toss-up as to whether the caregiver helps with medical or nursing tasks. Half of millennial caregivers have other unpaid help from other family and friends, and half have no additional unpaid support. The average millennial caregiver is employed, working 34.9 hours per week; half are married or living with a partner and in excellent or very good health. Most are high school graduates with some possible college courses but do not have a degree and earn on average $42,200 (below the national median). They live with the patient or live very close by in his or her own home. They tend to have little interaction with other caregivers since support groups seldom contain young people. Their friends may have difficulty understanding their plight, leaving little support. It may be that professional, career or personal goals have to be put on hold as they put themselves in second place behind their caretaking role.

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