AARP has determined that more than 40 million Americans are unpaid caregivers. Currently, 1 in 4 of these caregivers are Millennials, individuals born between about 1980 and 2000. Those they care for include their elderly or disabled parents and grandparents.
As their Baby Boomer and Generation X relatives age, the number of millennials providing unpaid care will only increase. These younger caregivers are redefining the way we think about the Millennial generation and about the overall needs of family caregivers in the United States.
November is National Family Caregiver Month
Because November is National Family Caregiver Month, it’s important to recognize the unsung family caregivers that spend so much of their own time and money caring for their loved ones. Millennials are often unfairly portrayed as a “selfish” generation, primarily focused on themselves and their own wants. But for those millennials working as unpaid caregivers, nothing could be further from the truth.
Millennials acting as caregivers report spending an average of 21 hours per week caring for those in their charge. About 73% of them do this in addition to working a regular job. Most Millennials tend to keep quiet about their caregiving responsibilities, deciding not to tell their boss about these after-hours family obligations. They report that their caregiving commitments have harmed their work and career opportunities, yet they persist in their efforts.
Adding to the financial pressures that many Millennials face related to student debt and high housing costs, Millennial caregivers are spending an average of $6,800 per year from their own pocket on caregiving expenses.
The stress of caregiving is taking a toll on these young people. Like family caregivers of other generations, many Millennials can struggle with feelings of isolation, guilt, and resentment. Millennial caregivers are evenly split between male and female; more than 50% of Millennial caregivers are people of color; and this generation is more likely to identify as LGBT. Organizations providing support for family caregivers need to be responsive to the particular needs of this generation of family caregivers.
Looking for Caregiving Support?
At Windward Life Care, our compassionate team is well connected with local elder care resources and understands the pressures faced by family caregivers. When you call on us for help, you’ll receive quality information that you can rely on. Give us a call today for information about available resources.