Skip to content

Younger Adults Stressed by Long-Term Care Demands

A third of those under age 40 have cared for an older friend or relative

Grandson and grandmother kissing forehead

Aldo Murillo

Younger caregivers feel more stress when caring for older loved ones.

Most younger adults haven't given much thought to their own needs as they age, but a significant number already are providing long-term care for older loved ones, according to a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

And while those who have caregiving experience put in fewer hours than their older counterparts, they're more likely to feel stressed out by the experience.

According to the poll, a third of American adults under age 40 have provided care for an older relative or friend, and another third expect to be called upon to do so within the next five years.

Three-quarters of younger caregivers spend less than 10 hours a week providing care, compared with most caregivers over age 40, who provide at least 10 hours of unpaid care a week. But despite putting in fewer hours, younger caregivers are more likely than older ones to say their care responsibilities are at least moderately stressful, 80 percent to 67 percent.

Younger caregivers also are more likely than older ones to rely at least in part on social media for the support they need, 45 percent to 25 percent.

Most young adults have little confidence that government safety-net programs will be there when they need them, and they're not too sure about their own financial situation. Only 16 percent of younger adults are very confident that they'll have the financial resources to deal with their own care needs when they get older.