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Caregiver Stories

A New Generation Discovers the Rewards of Caregiving

Maegan Pavioni sitting with her mother

Facing Emotional Trials One Day at a Time

‘At the end of the day I’m still the girl losing her mom’

Family caregivers have always spanned different cultures, ages and occupations, but today’s millennial caregivers, who range from 22- to 37-years-old, are the most racially and ethnically diverse generation yet, according to a 2018 AARP report. They also comprise a large segment — nearly 25 percent — of the caregiving population. “Many baby boomer parents had children later in life so there’s a bigger age gap between them when the parents get sick in their 60s,” explains Barry J. Jacobs, a clinical psychologist, health care consultant and coauthor of AARP Meditations for Caregivers

Given their ages and stages of life, millennial caregivers face some unique challenges. “They’re at an age where they’re developing careers, financial stability, social relationships and romantic relationships, and all of those things suffer to a degree because of their caregiving responsibilities,” Jacobs says.           

These profiles of millennial caregivers provide an inside look at how they care for their loved ones while trying to establish lives of their own. —Stacey Colino

Stephanie Hanamaikai brushes hair from her mother's face

‘I Know I’ll Never Have Any Regrets’

A shared love of knitting helps a daughter cope with her mother’s Alzheimer’s

Rachel Hiles and her grandmother sitting together

Getting to Know a ‘Hero’ in a Whole New Way

A granddaughter honors her cherished grandmother by helping her age in place

Caregiver Aisha Adkins with her parents

A Family’s ‘Challenge’ Becomes a Career Driver

A daughter discovers a new life path while giving back to her beloved mom

Caregiver Kristin Davie poses with her brother and parents

Responsibility and Compassion Learned Early

The hard, emotional evolution of a daughter’s caregiving role

The Changing Roles of the Caregiver

The role of a family caregiver is anything but static. Besides juggling multiple responsibilities at any given time, caregivers often find themselves doing more tasks and confronting new needs as their loved one’s health, family dynamics and circumstances change over the course of weeks, months and years. “The process is challenging and there’s a pretty steep learning curve, but there are upsides — people often gain a sense of mastery they didn’t have before, and they grow personally and spiritually as they take on more roles and learn new skills while caring for a loved one,” says Jacobs.

These snapshots of caregivers illustrate the many different roles they take on as they care for their loved ones.

Alice Brouhard And Kara Brouhard, Family Caregiving Roles

The Tech Guru

A mother becomes a technology wiz to help her daughter live independently

Changing Roles Caregiving, Babin Family

The Advocate

After her son was severely wounded in Iraq, a mother became his voice

       

Changing Roles Caregiving, Garcia Family

The Personal Attendant

A young mother takes care of her mother’s basic needs

Changing Roles Caregiving, Yarbough Family

The Personal Chef

A fondness for cooking helps a daughter create nutritious meals for her mother

    

Changing Roles Caregiving, Conover Family

Personal Attendant and Advocate

For this California couple, a hug from their son can mean everything

Changing Roles Caregiving, Veney Family

The Entertainment Director

A daughter makes sure her mother stays active and engaged

    

Changing Roles Caregiving, Ridenour Family

The Movement Facilitator

Attention to detail helps a caregiver maintain his wife’s mobility

Changing Roles Caregiving, Chun Family

The Best Friend

A daughter repays her mother’s kindness with caregiving

    

Changing Roles Caregiving, Smalls Family

The Administrator

Keeping track of the little things is a big job for one caregiver

Changing Roles Caregiving, Clayborn Family

Healthcare Provider and Personal Trainer

Two former teachers streamline their daughter’s hands-on care and exercise

   


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