In the United States, over 5.4 million children and teenagers aged 18 or younger provide significant assistance or care to a family member with a chronic illness, disability, mental health condition, or frailty due to aging. In addition, we know that this number is likely very low as many families are also reluctant to share their caregiving situation.
Some families are embarrassed by their need for assistance and are hesitant to volunteer information on their household needs with school or social services officials. There are also many emotions and feelings involved, such as guilt, pride, denial, and fear. This means that young caregivers may be struggling in school or at home, and potential resources—like teachers or special support programs—are unable to offer assistance that may help relieve some of the stress.
In 2021, Forbes magazine shared information gathered by the new Global Carer Well-Being Index from Embracing Carers, highlighting that “25% of Gen Z and Millennial caregivers were in caregiving roles for the first time during the pandemic, compared with 15% of Gen X and Boomer caregivers. Overall, 20% of caregivers surveyed were new to caregiving and 60% of them were Gen Z or Millennials.”
In Texas, we know that there are more than 1,600 young adults under 30, youth, and children involved in the ALS experience. Young caregivers are involved with both the activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), which include managing complex assistive devices, feeding, bathing and toileting.
This February, we want to shine a loving spotlight on our ALS Association young caregivers, and how they are rising to the challenge and supporting their families and loved ones living with ALS- with pride, advocacy, determination, empathy, and so much more! They are truly Caring With Love.
his February, we are shining a loving spotlight on our ALS Texas young caregivers, and how they are rising to the challenge and supporting their families and loved ones living with ALS- with pride, advocacy, determination, empathy, and so much more! They are truly Caring With Love.
We’d also like to share with you an incredible quote from Gabriel Poveda-young adult and former caregiver to his father; insight that only someone who at a young age provided care for a parent or loved one is able to share with others. Gabriel’s father ended is battle with ALS in 2020.
Words of empowerment and support for young caregivers:
“You’re going to be a remarkably strong individual. For young caregivers, I really wish I could tell you that there’s some sort of personal…some sort of something that makes it a little bit worth it, but what that is, is very little. The truth is-it’s going to be hard; very, very hard. The only personal solace I can genuinely give you is that you ARE going to be remarkably able to connect with other human beings. You emerge with a sense of pain that makes us more empathetic and makes us feel closer to other people. Alongside your peers, you’re going to find that you enjoy more than them. It’s going to be bittersweet, but you’re going to enjoy walking, talking, and eating more than they ever are. You’re going to enjoy having a family and having people you love more than they ever will…and when people are suffering, you’re going to be able to help them more than anyone else will.”- Gabriel Poveda
Tonya Hitschmann, Managing Director, Care Services
Updated January 29th, 2024