Millennial Caregivers Part 1: A Changing of the Guard

Welcome to Part 1 of a 3-part series on Millennial Caregivers. With many Millennials beginning to step into family caregiving roles, Millennials will undoubtedly bring their own stamp to the family caregiving problem. In this series, we'll explore Millennial caregiving, entrepreneurs and leaders changing the space and more.

When we talk about family caregiving, many of us immediately picture the Baby Boomer generation, often retired themselves, taking care of their elder parents. But a recent study by the AARP demonstrated that 1 in 4 family caregivers are, in fact, Millennials (currently ages 22 to 38). For those holding onto stereotypes of that generation (lazy, entitled, self-centered), this might come as a surprise, but as it turns out, Millennials are facing family caregiving head-on and, of course, doing it their way. In fact, our founder Logan Wells falls beyond the Millennial generation as a member of Generation Z, and a high school senior involved in caring for his grandmother--and an entrepreneur who saw a problem in the space and decided to correct it with technology.

 

    The Numbers (source: AARP & National Alliance for Caregiving 2015 caregiving report)

    • 10 million US caregivers (around 25%) are Millennials currently aged 22 to 38
    • Caregivers are split by gender and are the most diverse group of family caregivers we have seen, including the largest proportion of LGBT caregivers we have seen
    • 44% of Millennial family caregivers are single and never married; 33% are married
    • Millennial caregivers often do not have a college education, and 1/3 are earning less than $30,000 per year. At a pivotal point in their educations and careers, Millennial caregivers often have to change priorities.
    • More than half of Millennials work full-time, 40 hours per week, and 26% also spend 20 or more hours per week in caregiving activities
    • More than half of Millennial caregivers are the sole caregivers, alone in their duties

    The Challenge

    It's no surprise that being a caregiver at a younger age comes with its own set of challenges. Millennial caregivers can often feel alone, less likely to be able to connect with peers for support than their older counterparts. This article outlines some great ideas for seeking out support and help as a younger caregiver.

    They are also approaching a landscape they may be less familiar with: serious illness, navigating the healthcare system and making big health decisions for another person.

    Earlier in their careers, Millennial caregivers often feel unsupported at work, the AARP study showed, and the time spent caregiving could eventually have a long-term impact on education or career.

    And because this is a relatively new frontier, the study showed that many Millennials are hungry for more data and resources around how to manage their caregiving role. 

    In future articles in this series, we'll be exploring how some Millennials are tackling the challenge of caregiving head-on with their own businesses, websites or organizations, as well as provide resources for Millennial caregivers who are looking for support, ideas and tools. Stay tuned!

    CareZare is a FREE app for family caregivers to help them manage their care team and ensure the highest level of care for their loved one.