While plenty of millennials and other young people are used to offering care for others or having caring responsibilities at home, that certainly isn’t the case for everyone. It’s no secret that millennials are having less children than generations before, and that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused people to postpone their family planning or even reconsider the idea altogether. However, even with these possibilities, millennials have seen an extra responsibility recently as a whole — caregiving, in all its forms.
Whether the caregiving focuses on kids, siblings or even older adults in the home, COVID has birthed a new responsibility for many millennials in their own homes. While each situation is different, there is definitely a pattern present worth noticing. As these situations become the new normal, millennials will adjust and find solutions for the trials and tribulations that come with caring for others in ways they may not have seen before. Here are a few of the ways that millennials are caring for others in new ways.
When it comes to kids, there are a few ways caregiving can take form. While there are plenty of millennials who have kids of their own at home, many younger millennials have younger siblings or other relatives that they’re now tasked with caring for. For those who do have children, they’re likely seeing much more of them, which means that caring responsibilities have increased tremendously. While kids going off to school allows them to learn with teachers and peers, kids staying home all day can almost seem like an additional full time job.
This can be even more jarring with other peoples’ children, whether they’re siblings, relatives or otherwise related. Especially when it comes to younger millennials — who might be in school or who have lost jobs due to COVID — they might be the only people around with the time or flexibility to handle the responsibilities of caring.
While caring alone is already a large responsibility, COVID-19 has made it so that responsibility also comes with teaching tasks, too. Especially for younger children, online school and distance learning can be difficult to navigate independently. While teachers and educators are doing all they can, in-person support is often still required from those caring for students. This often requires parents to step away from their jobs or even for teens and older siblings to step in as teachers while also trying to manage their own studies.
Children are far from the only household members in need of consistent care. Older adults, grandparents and those aging in place who may have had additional support before the pandemic are now required to turn to family and other forms of personal support. Especially with nursing homes being a primary place of outbreaks for the virus, many are finding it safer to age in place.
However, with the quick transition, many are finding their homes unequipped, and this requires even more effort and care. Features like home elevators for mobility, accessible bathrooms and smart storage aren’t always present and available, requiring even more support from those at home who have the time to practice caregiving — often millennials.
COVID and Millennial Caregivers
The pandemic has impacted the millennial generation uniquely, when it comes to caregiving responsibilities and beyond. While everyone has a different experience, COVID has largely resulted in millennials taking on more caregiving responsibilities than ever before.