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‘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
A shared love of knitting helps a daughter cope with her mother’s Alzheimer’s
A granddaughter honors her cherished grandmother by helping her age in place
A daughter discovers a new life path while giving back to her beloved mom
The hard, emotional evolution of a daughter’s caregiving role
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.
A mother becomes a technology wiz to help her daughter live independently
After her son was severely wounded in Iraq, a mother became his voice
A young mother takes care of her mother’s basic needs
A fondness for cooking helps a daughter create nutritious meals for her mother
For this California couple, a hug from their son can mean everything
A daughter makes sure her mother stays active and engaged
Attention to detail helps a caregiver maintain his wife’s mobility
A daughter repays her mother’s kindness with caregiving
Keeping track of the little things is a big job for one caregiver
Two former teachers streamline their daughter’s hands-on care and exercise
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