Family caregivers are getting younger. The responsibility of tending to the daily needs of an elderly or chronically ill loved one is increasingly being shared across generations. In 2010, the average age of a caregiver was 53; by 2018, it was 47.
This shift is being fueled largely by a growing number of millennial-aged caregivers, who are stepping in to help their families. Of the 43 million Americans who provide care for another adult at home, 10 million — nearly 1 in 4 — is between the ages of 18 and 34.
- Millennial caregivers are more likely to be male than older caregivers. While just 25 percent of all caregivers are male, nearly 50 percent – 47 percent – of millennial caregivers are male.
- Millennial caregivers are more racially diverse. This is because caregivers of color are disproportionately younger than white caregivers: 38 percent of Hispanic caregivers are millennials, as are 34 percent of African American caregivers. In comparison, 17 percent of white caregivers are members of the millennial generation.
- Millennial caregivers are slightly more likely to identify as LGBT (12 percent) than does any other generation. For age 55 and up, that number is 9 percent.
- Millennial caregivers are more likely to care for someone with mental or emotional health issues. One in three millennials do so; for non-millennials, that number is closer to one in five (18 percent).
- Millennials are more likely to care for wounded veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, as they are usually a spouse or friend of the care recipient. Millennials make up 37 percent of these new military caregivers, and 11 percent of pre-9/11 veteran caregivers.
- Millennial caregivers are at greater risk of struggling financially. One in three (34 percent) employed Millennial caregivers has an annual household income of less than $30,000. The median income for all caregivers is $54,700.
- Millennial caregivers are hungry for resources. Fully 83 percent want more information and resources to help them manage the stresses and challenges related to their caregiving responsibilities.
Benjamin Barrett is a MemoryWell contributor and senior at Georgetown University studying Government and Economics.