According to AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, about 25 percent of U.S. caregivers fall between the age of 18 and 34. However, many of them have little to no experience with serious illness, making health care decisions or dealing with health insurance.
Millennials are also known to be long-distance caregivers, as their new career paths may not allow for them to stay at home or even live in the same city or state. However, about 10 million caregivers still decide to care for their loved ones by giving up a normal life and becoming stressed over trying to figure out how to be proper caregivers.
Don‘t struggle to be a caregiver. Here are a few things you should know and tips to help you be a proper millennial caregiver:
Be Organized: Organize any medications or supplements that you know your loved one is supposed to take at certain times. Label them and place them in the same area so that you will know where they are at all times, when they are supposed to be taken, and how many they are supposed to take with or without food. Also, keep track of important dates such as doctor’s appointments, special family gatherings, or any other important dates that they may otherwise forget or neglect. Keep a calendar especially for your loved one or keep important dates in your own calendar if it makes it easier. This will help you to keep track of your loved one’s daily needs even if you are long-distance.
Join A Support Group: Although the average age of people in these types of support groups are not of the millennial generation, it is important to be able to discuss the issues you are facing with people in similar situations. Your friends may not understand your situation and how you can give up your social life to take care of a loved one. In order to reduce stress and isolation, join a support group and talk to someone, even if they are much older than you.
Plan Their Services: As a caregiver, you must figure out what services your loved one will need. Do they need an adult day health care, escort services, home health aides or any other services that they may need. If you need help with the financial aspect, figure out how you will pay for every medical, pharmaceutical, therapeutic and other services needed to take care of. If money is limited, don’t be afraid to ask for help from family members or loved ones.
Avoid Caregiving Burnout: Besides everything you need to prepare to be a caregiver to your loved one, it is also important to be prepared for the emotional and mental toll care giving can have on you. Schedule time to be by yourself while they nap or are doing some other activity. Read a book, go for a jog, call a family member; take as much time as you can to give yourself some self-care. If you’re away, don’t stress yourself out by constantly checking in on your loved one. Schedule time to check in on them throughout the day while someone else is being their at-home caregiver and live your life.
Caregiving is difficult no matter what age you are; however, as a millennial, it may be more difficult to be a caregiver since you are giving up a normal life and are unsure of what you loved one may need. As long as you do some research and plan accordingly, you can be the best caregiver to your loved one and continue to live your life.