Millennial Caregivers – Be Kind to Your Grandchildren

Millennial Caregivers are the next wave of family caregivers to take care of aging Americans. With ten thousand baby Boomers turning 65 daily, the tsunami has begun. Millennial caregiverThe cutoff for Boomers is 1964 so there are many waves to come. Millennial caregivers will be the ones to care for them as they age, become ill and need help. With the tide of seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, the need for monitoring grows beyond just popping in to do some chores.

Millennial caregivers can’t just fall back on their youth and energy to see them through. Their balancing act will include their own careers and building a family of their own.  Recently AARP published “Millennials: The Emerging Generation of Family Caregivers” and it shows that the burdens of caregiving will fall to them as no other generation before them. Note that assistance and care are included – help with ADLs – bathing, incontinence, dressing as well as shopping, driving to doctor appointments, medications cooking and much more.

Shocking Statistics

One in four Millennials are spending 21 hours a week caring for an older relative. Those are unpaid hours on top of regular employment. Nearly half of all Millennials will be assisting a parent or their spouse in the coming years. It will usually be caring for a mother – 65% of the time. Nearly 76% of the family members being cared for by Millennial are fifty years old with the average age being 60 and then older. Millennial grandchildren care for relatives with the average age of 77.  More than half of millennial caregivers (51%) do it alone. Besides the time and emotional costs of caregiving, there is the financial. Caregivers spend close to twenty percent of their income on the relative – average of $6954.00 a year. This does not include lost wages along the way. Note that the annual cost of caregiving if performed by a skilled nurse would be around $645 billion dollars.

Where to Turn for Help

So, where can a family turn for help? Millennial siblings will have to ban together to pool hours and resources or some plan to distribute various responsibilities. Hiring help such as a Home Health Aide or Certified Nurse Assistant for even a couple of days a week will allow the Millennial to stay at work on those days. Government programs today include Medicaid and the Veterans Administration (V.A.). Both have qualifiers. There are community and religious organizations, Day Care programs and the like. All require some planning ahead. At least the millennial generation is now larger than the Boomers. If the Millennials can get through to their older relatives to take better care of themselves (nutrition, exercise), explore Long Term Care insurance and plan better for their older age, illness, giving up driving and the like, perhaps they can help share the burden within the community and governmental services.