In a recent New York Magazine article about longevity research in centenarians titled, “What Do a Bunch of Old Jews Know About Living Forever?”, reporter, Jesse Green refers to the National Institute on Aging’s prediction that centenarians will grow from 37,000 in 1990 to as many as 4.2 million in 2050.
I began to wonder, with such a rapid increase in people living to the age of 100, how will this change the demographic of future caregivers?
If the National Institute on Aging’s prediction is accurate, many young adults will find themselves caring for their parents and grandparents simultaneously. Conceivably, a 30-year-old could be caring for a 70-year-old parent, a 100-year-old grandparent, as well as a young child.
So how will young adult caregivers cope? Who will they turn to for resource information and guidance? Will they be able to handle the financial burden they may incur?
If current trends remain, women will be the primary caregiver in a majority of families.
In Jane Gross’ New York Times’ blog, Mad as Hell, she empowers women to start the conversation about the rigors of caregiving and to take action towards policy changes. Gross states, “Most mysterious is that this is a women’s issue. Boomer women changed the world for themselves and those who followed at each stage of life-now they have fallen silent.”
The time to help future caregivers better cope with caregiving responsibilities is now.
So don’t take on caregiver stress and suffer silently. Talk about being a caregiver not only to your peers but to your children so they are better equipped to be a caregiver when it’s their turn.
Don’t allow future generations to be blindsided. Provide them with the knowledge and wisdom of your own caregiving experiences.