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As the baby boomer generation ages, millennials are stepping up to care for their parents and grandparents more and more. A recent study by the National Alliance for Caregiving has shown that a growing number of Millennials are joining the force of active caregivers, now making up 25% of the caregivers providing care in the state of California.

Transitioning into the role of primary caregiver for an ailing relative when they are diagnosed with a life-changing disorder is a major change for both the care recipient and the caregiver. Often, Millennial family caregivers aren’t even aware there is a name for their role, or that there are many other Millennials out there going through the same struggles of learning how to care for a loved one when they are no longer able to care for themselves.

The study paints the typical millennial caregiver as a 27 year old adult, equally likely to be male or female, caring for a 60 year old female. In addition to physical limitations, care receivers often have mental or emotional health conditions. The average Millennial caregiver is working almost full time, in addition to providing an average of 21 hours of unpaid care per week to their care recipient. Care can include tasks like feeding, bathing, shopping, transportation and even complex medical tasks. Caregiving is a huge responsibility to take on!

As more Millennials begin to care for their loved ones, some of the more normal aspects of millennial life, especially career and social life, can be challenging, or even impossible to maintain. Some millennial caregivers have reported struggling to find work that will allow them the flexibility to continue to provide the necessary care required for their care recipient. (The National Alliance for Caregiving finds that employers are rarely doing enough to support caregivers.) Dating and relationships are a challenge to manage when your emotional and mental energy is drained from keeping work and caregiving life together.

Becoming a caregiver for a loved one is hard work and Millennial caregivers often find themselves in a role they were previously unaware even existed. Are you questioning whether you qualify as a caregiver? The California Caregiver Resource Centers would love to connect you with your local Center, who can talk more about their programs and how they can support you. Studies have shown that one of the largest stressors for Millennial caregivers is finding affordable care for their loved one. CRC is here to help – connect with your local Resource Center to find ways they can support you and your care recipient.

In the meantime, this Facebook Support Group for Millennial Caregivers may be a helpful resource to connect, find support and share experiences: Caregiver Collective 

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