November 1, 2017

Millennials: Walking the Path from Not Giving a Care to Caregivers.

I’m a millennial.

I learned to type before I could sign my own name in cursive. I grew up calling a pager number. The first family cell phone was bigger than my head—I was the baby, after all. And I was the first of my friends to get a computer.

My parents ran a family-owned business online out of our basement before it was super cool to be doing that. I even went to an online high school. And now I work in the field of e-learning, thanks to Elephant Academy.

Technology and communication have always been a driving force in my life. As a millennial, I’m quick to adapt and excited to try new things. But sometimes, you come to a fork in the road, and you take the road less traveled. Or, so I thought. It turns out that I’m not alone.

Several years ago, I stepped into the role of a caregiver in my family. I have experience dealing with insurance and the medical system, and I deeply wanted to help those that I love.

Life has gifted me the opportunity to make a difference in the life of someone I love. It has also provided me with an amazing education in the process. I spend weekends looking over insurance paperwork, medical bills, running errands, and thinking of the needs of someone else besides myself.

I’m not a parent, but I am responsible in many ways for the well-being of another human.

This isn’t a responsibility I take lightly, and neither do the rest of the millennial caregivers. That’s right. The rest of us.

I’m one of many:

Millennials account for almost a quarter of the approximately 44 million caregivers in the United States.

Almost 25%. That’s a lot of young caregivers. That’s a lot of love right there. That’s a lot of people who are struggling to be of benefit in their personal lives by placing those that they love as a priority. That’s a lot of personal sacrifice.

That right there is what makes me feel that we still have a fighting chance for love in this world. So often, millennials are disparaged for being self-centered, ungrounded, flaky, too quick to reach boredom—the list goes on. But perhaps there’s more to the story. (Spoiler alert: there’s always more to the story.)

I like to think that while some of those traits might be true—so too might there be a deeper well of caring and concern, of a fighting spirit for equality and justice, and a sense of responsibility that isn’t often honored.

I am a caregiver. It’s part of who I am and how I choose to live my life. I might be caregiving with my cellphone close by, but some habits are just too d*mn hard to break.

The millennial generation has now surpassed the number of living baby boomers. That means that the percentage of millennials (and younger generations) taking on a caregiver role will continue to increase as they step forward to care for older relatives in the baby boomer generation.

We all feel drawn to step up and be supportive to those we love in different ways. The earth keeps spinning, time keeps ticking, and we will all one day need help from someone.

Are you a millennial?

Start having these tough conversations with your loved ones sooner rather than later—making a plan and knowing the wishes of those you love will be beneficial to all involved.

And hey, while you’re at it, consider your own wishes. They may change, but if anything, that makes a great conversation starter.

 

“I’ve enjoyed every age I’ve been, and each has had its own individual merit. Every laugh line, every scar, is a badge I wear to show I’ve been present, the inner rings of my personal tree trunk that I display proudly for all to see. […] I want to wear the life I’ve lived.” ~ Pat Benatar

 

 


Author & Editor: Molly Murphy
Image: Pexels/Matthias Zomer / Author’s own
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Social Editor: Waylon Lewis 

 

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