Why are a Quarter of All Senior Caregivers Millennials?

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Of the 40 million caregivers in the U.S., 25% of them are millennials, according to a report from the AARP Public Policy Institute. This represents a generation that is facing a unique set of challenges.

advisory.com’s article, “’Life interrupted’: More millennials are becoming caregivers in their 20s and 30s,” reports that one of the reasons so many caregivers are now millennials, is because boomers had their kids at a later stage of their life than their own parents. They also had fewer children to provide the care. Many boomers are divorced and single. This can frequently mean that caregiving is left to their children, instead of a spouse.

AARP says that millennial caregivers spend an average of 21 hours a week taking care of their family member. More than 50% of those caregivers must perform difficult tasks, like helping someone bathe or use the bathroom.

For millennials with children and jobs, caregiving responsibilities can leave them feeling very overwhelmed. They’re feeling the pressure and are stressed. The work of taking care of a loved one, like a parent, as a millennial can have severe long-term consequences, if it limits their employment and familial choices. Some call it “life interrupted.”

Not dedicating sufficient time to work, can increase the risk of millennials seeing lower lifetime wealth, retirement savings and Social Security benefits. Millennials may feel they have family obligations, but they also have their own set of obligations. AARP found that even when millennials work full time, they’re more apt than older caregivers to get warnings about their job performance or attendance, to be denied promotions and to be terminated from their jobs.

Millennial caregivers should look for professional advice on getting assistance with caring for their loved one, such as a geriatric care manager, who customizes care options to a patient’s specific needs. In addition, millennial caregivers can work with an elder law attorney to help determine whether their parent is qualified to receive government-paid home aides, adult day care, assisted living or other services. Medicaid will pay for most everything, when a patient’s financial assets are below a certain level. However, this varies by state.

It is also important that boomer parents proactively draw up financial and health care powers of attorney and assemble a network of people who can help their future caregivers. They should also speak with their children about their financial resources and what kinds of care they want.

Reference: advisory.com (December 4, 2019) “’Life interrupted’: More millennials are becoming caregivers in their 20s and 30s”