Challenges of Younger Caregivers
Do you remember the term “sandwich generation?” It's a phrase coined to refer to baby boomers who were taking care of their parents while also having young children of their own. However, now millennials are moving into the sandwich generation at a younger age than their parents did as baby boomers age and more and more millennials are becoming caregivers. Many are taking on this role while just getting started in their own lives, leading to difficult decisions about priorities. Proper planning can help them navigate this terrain.
A recent study by Genworth found that the average age of caregivers in 2018 went down to 47, from 53 in 2010. Gretchen Alkema, vice president of policy and communications at the SCAN Foundation, told the New York Times that the rise in younger caregivers may be because baby boomers had kids later in life than their predecessors and many are divorced, so they do not have a spouse to provide care.
Younger Caregiver Challenges
Younger caregivers have different challenges than older caregivers. They may have younger kids to manage and careers that are just beginning, rather than established. In addition, more millennial men are caregivers compared to previous generations. The AARP study found that millennials spend an average of 21 hours a week on caregiving, and one in four spend more than 20 hours per week. More than half (53 percent) also hold a full-time job in addition to their caregiving duties and 31 percent work part time. Younger caregivers are also less likely to discuss their caregiving duties with their employer than previous generations.
Managing caregiving duties, family, and employment is stressful. Having plans in place can help alleviate some of the stress, and the earlier you plan ahead the better. The following are resources you can use to put together a long-term care plan:
- Long-term care insurance can help lessen some of the costs of caregiving if it is purchased early enough.
- A geriatric care manager can help determine what care is needed and where to find resources.
- An elder law attorney can draft essential documents like a power of attorney and a health care power of attorney, as well as advise you on available benefits, such as Medicare, Medicaid, or Veteran’s Administration benefits.
- Adult day care can give caregivers a much-needed break.
Having resources in place will help, but you also need to be mindful of when you need help. Recognize when you are being stretched too thin and consider your priorities. If possible, talk to your employer about flexible hours. Consult with other family members and do not be afraid to delegate tasks. Take care of yourself by eating well, exercising, and finding time to relax.
Long Term Care Planning Attorney in Avon Lake
At Joseph L. Motta, elder law and estate planning firm in Avon Lake, OH, we specialize in putting our expertise to work to provide you with the best advice. Call 440-930-2826 to schedule a free consultation .