Increasingly, adults 18-30 are taking responsibility for grandparents, either because those grandparents were their own primary caregivers in childhood and adolescence or because workplace demands make it difficult for their own children (your parents and aunts and uncles) to be present at all hours of the day.
Providing Adult Care Services as Students
Families are highly diverse in the ages of the "generations" and in the roles that generations play. The Area Agency on Aging estimates that "36 percent of younger Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 are family caregivers…including 1 million young people who cared for loved ones with Alzheimer's" (2014).
- Several generations of older parents, who delayed marriage and child rearing until their own thirties and forties, have also meant that sometimes parents are in need of assistance before their children are fully "launched."
- Illness and injury can result in adults who would not ordinarily be in need of care by age, who now need care for a few weeks or months — or years.
- Culture of origin also plays a role in this, as family can be expected to be the first concern of younger members, particularly younger women.
- Private services are often expensive and families are struggling with health care and household expenses, whether the members are in multiple homes or under the same roof.
- College students are perceived as having more flexible schedules, but may also be expected to work at least part-time to share in expenses, leading to role conflict and stress. Caregiving time is not always optimum time for study and concentration.
- As someone just now learning to deal with your own "business" and health concerns, it may be hard to figure out how you can advocate for both yourself and your loved ones.
You are not alone. Here are some resources that may help you find options so that you can build your future while providing care and support to your family members.
Johnson County Area Agency on Aging
Aging Information Specialists
888-214-4404 - toll free
You can find out more about services that help caregivers to adults 60+ who need assistance to remain at home. Some are free and some are offered on a sliding scale. There is also a newsletter with ongoing information for those who are in a caregiver role.