By: Jehan Wilson
For the past few years, some have viewed millennials as an impulsive group of individuals that choose to chase after the trills of life by themselves rather than adopting a “family first” mentality like their Baby Booming predecessors. As a result, it has been implied as common knowledge that millennials first seek pursuing their own professional goals or personal dreams before they even consider starting a family of their own. Contributor Neil Howe of Forbes Magazine took an interesting approach on this topic, expressing that “millennials are unfamiliar with a broad range of life skills. They are less likely than older generations to know how to sew, make basic home repairs, or drive manual-transmission cars.” In his article entitled “Millennials struggles to pass Life Skills 101”, Howe is critiquing the millennial’s ability to develop basic life skills because of their dependence to develop academic skills. Although, I believe it is safe to suggest that life skills can range from knowing how to simply sew or do care repairs to cook, clean, and care for family or friends that may be unable to.
The Alzheimer’s Media Insider (ALZ) conducted a very unique study on Caregiving in May of this year which results showcase Millennials in a new light that may cause Howe to second guess his notice that generation Y is lacking the skills for life. For instance, findings from the Alzheimer’s Association express that 85% of Millennials said being a primary caregiver for someone has positively changed their family relationship. Specifically, when it comes to caregivers committing to value and care for individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Millennials are 35% more likely to feel this way than the average caregiver, 37% more likely than Generation Xers, and 64% more likely than Baby Boomers. In addition, the findings during this ALZ study expressed that 47% of caregivers expressed developing a stronger relationship with the individual under their care”.
The experience of caring for an individual with Alzheimer’s disease is so rewarding for the millennial because the moments shared with that other person are one’s that only the millennial will remember. The value of these fleeting moments between an Alzheimer patient and their caregiver have the ability to shape a millennials future; Just take the testimony of 24 year old Brittany Williams for instance. On Blackdoctor.org, Williams shared her story of becoming the primary caregiver to her mother (who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer) and her four siblings. Expressing herself as “a woefully unprepared 24 year old tasked with organizing a cross-country move, providing full-time care to my mother, and toeing the line between big sister and parent her siblings”; Williams does her best to care for her family until her mother’s passing two years later. After the passing of her mother, Williams expressed “I deeply miss my mother but I have peace because I cared for her in the way that she cared for me. Worldwide, millennials are faced with the numerous challenges of being caregivers to those with Alzheimer’s disease and others alike. But even with those differences, one thing remains constant: What we do with our time now contributes to who we will be in the future.
** For more Stats of the ALZ study on Millennials and Caregiving, review the findings at : http://preview.alz.org/media_105280.asp#millenials
** To Read about Brittany Williams and her process of caring for her mother, check out her story at: https://blackdoctor.org/514837/my-story-alzheimers-and-a-mothers-unforgettable-love/