Study: Millennials Increasingly Caring for Loved Ones with Dementia

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One out of six millennial caregivers looks after someone with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, and the number is expected to grow, according to a report released Monday by researchers at the University of Southern California.

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The study, “Millennials and Dementia Caregiving in the United States,” issued by the USC Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging and UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, concludes that more millennials and young Americans are expected to face caregiving responsibilities in the future because the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is expected to reach nearly 16 million in the U.S. by 2050 from 5 million Monday.

“Caregiving to family members with dementia can be a full-time job,” said Maria Aranda, associate professor and interim executive director at the USC Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging. “Caring for the millennial caregiver is a societal investment with the potential of delaying family burdens and healthcare costs in the future.”

Increasing numbers of millennials — those born from 1980 to 1998 — are expected to face caregiving responsibilities in the future as the number of patients rises.

The analysis provides information about the characteristics of millennials caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, examines the caregiving activities they perform and the burden they experience through caregiving, and how their caregiving activities interfere with their workforce participation. The report also makes policy and programmatic recommendations for addressing those challenges.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. Like other dementias, it is characterized by a profound deterioration in memory, language and communication abilities, problem-solving capabilities and other aspects of cognition that affect a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Research suggests that Alzheimer’s may be the third-leading cause of death among older adults.

Among the report’s findings:

  • roughly 42 percent of millennial dementia caregivers are sole care providers and the overwhelming majority reported that accessing affordable outside help was very difficult;
  • most millennial dementia caregivers do not live in the same household with the person they care for, and 16 percent had to travel more than an hour to provide care;
  • the most common caregiving activities include helping with transportation, shopping, and communicating with doctors;
  • caregivers feel emotional distress is a major burden and want more help in dealing with this issue; and
  • about one out of two millennial dementia caregivers said looking after patients interfered with work, and 33 percent reported consequences led to losing job benefits or termination, among other impacts.

City News Service

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