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By: Cara Williams, Esq.
Smith Debnam Narron Drake Saintsing & Myers, LLP
Raleigh, North Carolina

A recent study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP found that nearly a quarter of America’s caregivers are millennials between the ages of 18 and 34. Millennials are seeing their loved ones progress up in age, and the big question is whether or not they are ready.

As a Millennial, I for one am nowhere near ready to care for a sick parent, much less an elderly grandparent. And, according to this study, I am not alone. Unfortunately for many millennials, who were graduating from college or graduate school at the peak of the economic recession, they were unemployed or underemployed for a long time. Millennials are also marrying and starting families much later in life than previous generations, which means they will be at an older age when the need to spend a greater portion of time and money to support their growing families arises. Also, millennials are having to work harder and longer than previous generations while continuing to struggle against near-stagnant wages and an uncertain economic future.

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, 34 percent of caregivers maintain a full-time job in addition to spending at least 25 hours a week assisting a parent or grandparent with activities like bathing, dressing, housework, shopping, and managing finances. Of these caregivers, 38 percent report high emotional stress from the demands of caregiving. In this study, caregivers, have been caring for a loved one for an average of four years.

According to the AARP, without proper financial and estate planning, millennials run the risk of facing a “caregiving cliff.” We, as Millennials, need to have very serious discussions with our loved ones and work diligently toward having a plan in place that will comfortably provide the care our parents and grandparents will need later in life while minimizing the impact of any financial and emotional strain to ourselves.

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