As the 65 and older demographic are getting on in years, their caregiving needs are being met by millennials born between 1980 to 2000. Currently about 10 million strong, these young caregivers are frequently unpaid as they help their aging parents and grandparents take care of the necessities of daily living. For many, this fact comes as a surprise.
Shortly after millennials started coming of age and entering the workforce, their bosses and coworkers observed many of them wanted purpose driven employment. They wanted to make a meaningful contribution to the world right from the start of their employment age. They did not find value starting their career at the bottom rungs of corporate America, gaining experience as they climbed upward through the ranks. Rather, they wanted immediate responsibility and commensurate pay without doing work they considered meaningless. They wanted to make an impact now.
As a consequence, millennials began to be viewed as an entitled generation, even lazy. They were thought to be only interested in themselves, unwilling to be team players or accept guidance from their bosses and more seasoned peers.
But as millennials have developed and grown, it’s clear that the stereotype isn’t entirely accurate. Many millennials have proven to be very team oriented and willing to self-sacrifice. Nowhere is this truer than in their willingness to help their relatives as unpaid caregivers. The number of millennials providing unpaid care to their aging loved ones will continue to rise. As they do so, they are changing the way that society often thinks about their generation.
What They Are Facing
Caregiver millennials spend around 21 hours per week in unpaid care of their elderly relatives. About 73% of them do this in addition to their full-time job. They often do not have enough money to meet the burden of care, paying about $6,800 per year out of their own money for each individual they support. In light of these facts, it’s important to recognize the positive impact that millennial caregivers are having on their families. Their sacrifice is real, and their work is meaningful.
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