New, Young Caregivers from COVID
60% of 1st Time Caregivers Are Young Adults & Teens
Source: Gen Z Image
COVID's Global Burden For Young People - New Survey
Until one year ago, the focus of attention for most young adults and teens was education, work, sports and social life. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. A new study from Embracing Carers, the Global Carer Wellbeing Index, shows that 60% of all first time, unpaid caregivers are Gen Z & Millennial young adults and teens. They are taking care of parents, siblings and other relatives with COVID-19 and other severe illnesses. The number of new caregivers globally is estimated at a few millions. The new study suggests that it is taking a heavy toll on their mental and emotional wellbeing. This is a hidden consequence of COVID-19 that has not been well documented until this global study.
A Big Balancing Act
Many of these young people are trying to balance work and/or school while trying to take care of loved ones who are too sick or simply unable (perhaps too young) to take care of themselves. Some have had to leave a job or drop out of school. The survey finds that 72% of Gen Z caregivers in the US say that their emotional and mental health have worsened in the past year. 77% globally say the pandemic has made them feel more burned out then ever before. 82% say they are sacrificing more of their personal lives compared to 68% of caregivers 65 and older.
Major Life Disruptions
Particularly for Gen Z young adults and teens, the pandemic has been a major disruptor of their education, early entry into the workforce and their social lives. And, we now know that for many of them, COVID has added the extra responsibility of caregiving for adults and children in their lives. Experts are not sure what the long term impact all of this will have on their educational achievements, career paths and job possibilities. But it is clear that this generation has been dealt a tough hand to play.
Some Good News
Gen Z caregivers have heart and soul. 91% of the group in the US and 88% globally say caregiving for their relatives has been rewarding and they have no regrets about doing it. What they do want is more guidance and information. 95% of those surveyed say they could use help in navigating the system to make sure that they are providing their loved one(s) the best possible care.