Memory Mondays: Millennial Caregivers and Dementia
Millennial caregivers have become increasingly common, given the rapidly aging society and a greater need for care. What may come as a surprise, however, is the number of millennial caregivers assisting loved ones with dementia.
That’s because one out of every six millennial caregivers is providing aide for someone with dementia, according to a new report titled “Millennials and Dementia Caregiving in the U.S.”
The study, by USC Edward R. Royal Institute on Aging and USAgainstAlzheimer’s, focused on millennial caregivers between the ages of 18 and 34 who were providing unpaid care to a friend or a relative by helping them with personal needs or household chores, according to Alzheimers.net.
The tasks millennial caregivers perform for people with dementia vary greatly. Some examples include:
– 79% reported providing assistance with transportation.
– 76% noted assisting with groceries and other shopping.
– 70% helped communicate with doctors and other health care professionals.
– 55% offered to manage finances.
– 25% dealt with incontinence.
With such responsibilities, 79% of millennial caregivers reported emotional distress, and 42% said they were the sole caregiver for their loved one with dementia. Meanwhile, 14% had to stop working entirely to provide care.
What’s more, 18% of millennial caregivers noted their own health worsening. And 52% indicated needing more information and support to handle their own stress.
“Caregiving to family members can be a full-time job,” said Maria Aranda, associate professor and interim executive director at the USC Edward R. Royal Institute on Aging. “Caring for the millennial caregiver is a societal investment with the potential of delaying family burdens and health care costs in the future.”
Clearly, the effects of dementia on caregivers are noteworthy, as is the amount of millennial caregivers experiencing such strain. To address this, the report also listed policy and programming recommendations to help younger caregivers, such as:
– Improved access to support groups geared toward millennial and younger caregivers.
– Adding more online communication platforms for better connection with health care providers.
– Developing flexible work arrangements to facilitate a better work-caregiving balance for millennials.