Society as a whole ebbs and flows. Dynamics change and responsibilities – both individually and societal – shift as well. Years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for 16 year old girls to be married and those who had not married by the time they were 18, 19 or even 20, were considered “old maids”. Of course, that’s no longer the rule. These days, we teach our young women that education is important, independence is important and while family and marriage are also important, it’s just not necessary to start so young. Shifts like that affect society on the peripherals. These days, millennials as caregivers is becoming quite common as they’re far more likely to be care for their aging parents and grandparents than even their parents were.
The National Alliance of Caregiving and AARP study found that 25 percent of the 40 million caregivers in the United States are Millennials. Recently, family caregivers were predominately female over the age of 49, but now, we’re shift a shift and expansion to include men and the even younger generations.
This has its challenges from a career perspective, a health perspective and long term financial perspective.
These shifts for younger adults come with far more stress. Then there are the physical considerations. It’s no secret that a traditional 40 hour work week is antiquated; we’re working 50, 60 or even more hours each week. This can take a physical toll on a young adult who’s busy building a career, who might have her own young family at home and now suddenly, is seeing to an aging loved one. Then, with the passage of time comes increased confidence. It’s no surprise then that many younger people are ensuring Grandma has her medicine each day, Grandpop’s wounds are healing nicely and Mom eats at least three times a day.
So what can you do to ensure you’re at your tip top best so that you can move forward with your own hopes and dreams for the future while also ensuring your loved ones are cared for?
Many say meal deliveries are the cure all for the loved ones. This way, there are assurances that Mom receives a hot meal (or more) during the day. While you may come home to prepare dinner each night, no one wants a loved one to be hungry during the day. This has made a world of difference for many families.
Also, it’s best if you can be sure your loved one has the legalities and finances on an even keel. You may wish to accompany Mom to her attorney’s office, especially if you’re named in any of her documents – such as her trusts or powers of attorney. This can be a good time to openly discuss what plans Mom has made with her lawyer. Remember though, the attorney will naturally want to ensure your loved one is OK with those talks in your (or anyone’s) presence. Knowing the bases are covered is just one less thing to keep you up at night.
Finally, don’t forget to take time for yourself. That can be challenging when you know there are dishes in the sink and you’re wondering if Mom remembered to take her vitamin. That doesn’t mean, though, you have to cancel plans or resist making at all. Think of a few hours out as a way of recharging. By the same token, don’t forget to take advantage of the cooler weather by taking your loved one out for an afternoon, even if it’s just to spend some time in the outdoors.