Some Adult Singles Have No Choice But to Delay Marriage Because They Are Too Busy Acting As Caretakers to Elderly Family
(Link): The Millennial Caregiver
The Call to Care for Aging Parents Comes Sooner Now
More millennials are responsible for their parents and grandparents, sometimes derailing careers and family life.
… As the country grows older, its caregivers are growing younger and more squeezed. Millennials now make up 24% of the nation’s unpaid caregivers, up from 22% of young adult caregivers in 2009.
…Their numbers are expected to grow and so, too, are their challenges.
Maria Aranda, an associate professor of Social Work and Gerontology at the University of Southern California, says caregiving responsibilities can come at pivotal times in the lives of millennials and threaten to derail expected milestones, like starting families and buying a house. “Those things are being eclipsed,” says Dr. Aranda, who conducted a study of millennials … who are caring for those with dementia.
… It can also affect their jobs. About one in three millennials who are taking care of someone with dementia, which is the most demanding type of family caregiving, said they have cut back hours, lost benefits, or been fired because of caregiving demands, according to a 2017 report by UsAgainst Alzheimer’s and USC Edward R. Roybal Institute of Aging.
Fourteen percent stopped working entirely because they couldn’t handle both work and care, which means loss of contributions to Social Security and 401(k) plans.
Araceli Garcia, 31, is the medical and financial power of attorney for her maternal grandparents, both with Alzheimer’s and other chronic illnesses… [Her grandparents speak little English]
“That leaves me, ” says Ms. Garcia, who is single and lives with her mother [who doesn’t drive or speak English well] in Los Angeles.
Ms. Garcia confers with the doctors, the pharmacist, the insurance company and landlord.
She often gets interrupted at work with calls regarding incontinence diapers, prescriptions or follow-up care. [The article goes on to list her many other responsibilities in caring for her elderly family.]
… When her friends invite her out, she often turns them down. “I don’t feel like going anywhere. All I want is to go to bed,” she says.
[Another individual discussed in the article is Amber Synder, who works two jobs. She spends much of the rest of her time looking after elderly family.] ..She lives with her mother and doesn’t have time to socialize. “I barely have time to watch TV. It’s either working, taking care of her, my son, or sleeping,” says Ms. Synder. ..
… She [Ms. Glusman] remembers how lonely it felt when she first became responsible for her mom and didn’t know anyone the same age in a similar situation who could provide support or guidance.
…Ms. Glusman would like to marry and have kids while her mother is still around and understands what is happening. She doesn’t have dementia, but her short-term memory is failing. “She wants nothing more than to see me taken care of and happy,” she says. In the meantime, she says, “I think I am where I’m at – not married and without children – for a reason.”