Millennials: A Younger Generation Caring for Elderly Loved Ones

Millennials: A Younger Generation Caring for Elderly Loved Ones

January 16, 2024

Millennial Caregiver Burnout in the U.S.

Millennial Family Caregivers: Battling Stress and Burnout

Life is overwhelming. If you're not careful, the stress of balancing a career and free time can take a toll on your quality of life. Many millennial caregivers know this stress all too well as they attempt to help a loved one manage a chronic illness. Caregiving can be an incredibly isolating experience and comes with a heavy emotional strain. Fortunately, there is plenty that millennial caregivers can do to alleviate the stress and juggle their many responsibilities. Here's what you need to know about battling stress, burnout and other caregiving challenges from the team at BrightStar Care.

The Challenges Faced by Today's Home Caregivers

While caregiving has always been challenging, modern family caregivers face hurdles that they haven't had to worry about in the past. Get familiar with some of the common challenges faced by millennial caregivers:

The Healthcare System

The healthcare system has only gotten more intricate over the last few decades. Insurance complexities and coordination of care all make it more difficult to navigate. Young adult caregivers often find it a challenge to advocate for their aging parents and grandparents.

Family Responsibilities

Millennial caregivers are the prime age for having young children at home. Whether those children are toddlers or teenagers, they require lots of time, patience and resources to properly care for. Adding the stress of caring for an older loved one as well only hastens caregiver burnout. 

Mental Health

Mental and emotional health has been at the forefront of many conversations in modern society. millennials and stress tend to go hand-in-hand. Taking on the role of a home caregiver may further increase stress and take a toll on mental health. While caregiving is very fulfilling, practicing good self-care measures is important to avoid adverse effects on your emotional well-being.

Stalled Careers

Taking care of a loved one can quickly turn into a full-time job. Younger adults still in school or working toward career advancement may no longer be able to balance a large workload with caregiving. Some millennial caregivers feel pressured to delay their education or forego workplace promotions to dedicate more time to caregiving.

Financial Instability

The cost of living is only getting higher, and millennials and young adults are bearing the brunt of the effects. With the rising cost of living and stagnant wages, financial instability is rampant. The lack of a financial safety net is especially dangerous for individuals who become caregivers for aging parents and grandparents.

Caregiver Burnout 

Perhaps the most prevalent caregiver challenge is burnout. In the wake of the pandemic, many people are reporting burnout, especially in their careers. However, family caregivers are also prone to burnout. This mental health condition involves near-constant exhaustion as the result of prolonged stress. If you're worried about burning out, be sure to watch for these signs:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • No enthusiasm for the task at hand
  • Cynical thinking
  • Poor performance at work
  • Difficulty concentrating

What Causes Caregiver Burnout? 

Caregiver stress, and eventually burnout, builds up over time for several reasons. Many people report that feeling powerless and stuck in their role contributes to their unhappiness. Isolation, lack of support, financial pressure and constant fear and uncertainty can also increase the chances of diminishing mental health. However, overcoming burnout is possible. Try some of these approaches when caregiving challenges feel overwhelming:

  • Self-Care: First and foremost, millennial family caregivers should make sure to incorporate self-care into their routines. This includes eating well, exercising regularly and getting adequate sleep. Self-care can also mean sitting down to watch your favorite TV show or spending some time enjoying a favorite hobby.
  • Relaxation Techniques: Relaxation is crucial for preventing burnout. Consider taking up yoga, meditation or deep breathing to calm your body after a stressful day.
  • Reduce Stress in Other Areas: If possible, reducing stress in other areas is always helpful. Be sure to set boundaries and delegate tasks when it makes sense.
  • Seek Counseling: Speaking with a professional can drastically improve your mental health. Therapists have strategies for reducing burnout that you may not have thought of.
  • Join a Support Group: While not everyone knows what you’re going through, many people do. It’s highly beneficial to join a support group for young caregivers to discuss challenges and ask questions. 
  • Talk to Friends and Family: If you'd prefer not to talk to a therapist, confide in trusted friends and family. It's even better if you can talk to people who have gone through similar struggles as a caregiver. 

Resources for Millennial Caregivers

Always remember that you are not alone. Numerous resources can alleviate the stress of the modern family caregiver. For example, our Home Care Guide may be instrumental in streamlining your loved one’s care. At the same time, don't be afraid to ask for respite care or in-home health aides so you can focus on your own goals and personal life. Whether you need a break lasting two hours or two days, BrightStar Care can connect you with a trustworthy, experienced caregiver. Our team will help you find the following services in your area:

Your loved one deserves nothing less than extraordinary care. However, that care shouldn't come at the expense of an adult caregiver. We work with nurses, CNAs and other professionals who can help your loved one continue living in the comfort of their own home.

Find a BrightStar Care® Location Near

Looking for in-home care services or assisted living for your loved one or a reliable medical staffing partner for your organization? Our experienced local care team members are ready to help. Find a location near youcontact us online, or call 866.618.7827 to speak with a local care expert and learn more about how BrightStar Care offers A Higher Standard®.