The devil is in the details.
Aisha Adkins is a Millennial caregiver. I am not. But we worry and are responsible for the same caregiving issues. We worry about the future, finances, and isolation. Are we doing a good job of taking care of our loved ones? What is the long term impact of caregiving on our career and family?
Caregivers between the age of 18 and 34 – the definition of a Millennial – are either still in school or just starting out in their careers. I can’t imagine having to explain to my teacher that I didn’t get my homework done because I had to care for my mother. I can’t imagine in my early 20’s not being carefree enough to go out with my friends whenever I want. I can’t imagine starting a new job, with no work history for my employer to look at and needing to ask for time off to care for an aging loved one.
Oh, and by the way, it may surprise you that the definition of young caregivers goes beyond millennial’s. The number of children between the ages of 8 and 18 who provide care for an older adult or a sibling in the US may be as high as 1.4 million. What will shock you is in the report: Young Caregivers in the US, (COMPLETED IN 2005): approximately 400,000 youngsters that provide care are between the ages of 8 and 11.
We must do better in recognizing these hidden caregivers and in providing them support. These numbers will continue to grow with an increase of early onset Alzheimer’s and as services for lower income families are chipped away. We must bring them along with us as we advocate for changes in the healthcare system. It is our responsibility as older caregivers to help bring these young caregivers into the light.
If you want to understand the plight of young caregivers, there is research out there. Or you can join us on Tuesday’s at 1:00 EST on Caregiving.com’s twitter chat. This is where I met Aisha and other’s like her.
But don’t just listen to me. Here, in this blog written by colleague and friend Michelle Seitzer is Aisha’s story.
Some additional reading:
- There are more Millennial caregivers than you think
- Five challenges young caregivers face
- What Millennials Want the Government to Do About Long-Term Care
- More Millennials are caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s
Disclaimer: The material in this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace, nor does it replace, consulting with a physician, lawyer, accountant, financial planner or other qualified professional.