Many individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are receiving in-home care. What might be surprising is just how many millennials are engaged in the caregiving. An aging population, combined with the fact that dementia-related illnesses are projected to grow in prevalence, means that millennials will play an increasing role in family caregiving. This article highlights the many qualities that make millennials well-suited and effective caregivers.
They are Comfortable Using Technology.
Technology has been integral in their lives from an early age. Millennials were among the first to grow up with computers in the home, which is important in an increasingly virtual world. They can easily navigate caregiver support resources through technology, such as app-controlled home and door alarms, Uber apps to facilitate travel for appointments, or ordering items online. This technological comfort also allows millennials to provide support by doing internet research, grocery deliveries, or setting up auto bill payments to ease the challenges of caregiving.
They are Adaptable.
Millennials are old enough to remember life without smartphones, apps, social media, and the internet, so they can adapt quickly to different situations and help their elders adapt as well.
They are Emotionally Invested.
Despite the responsibilities, challenges, and nuances of caregiving, millennials were the most likely group to say caregiving was rewarding (91%), according to a February 2021 Forbes article. A study conducted by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) found that most millennials got a sense of purpose from their caregiving role. Like any caregiver, millennials have their strengths, but they also face challenges that are less common among their older contemporaries.
Less Financial Means and Weaker Support Structure.
Because they are younger (on average 30 years old) with shorter earning time, millennial caregivers have lower household incomes and more often report high levels of financial strain.
These income challenges leave millennials with a weaker support structure. They are less likely to have paid caregiving help or health insurance, and they more frequently report being in fair health.
Rising to Meet the Challenge.
Millennials are not the future caregivers in the fight against Alzheimer’s—they are on the front lines, in the trenches, right now. Fortunately, they are well equipped—they are passionate, hard-working caregivers who find great reward in their labor of love and are rising to meet the many challenges they face head-on. Like all caregivers, they need help. Strengthening their support infrastructure is vital to help make them an even stronger caregiving generation.
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