Millennials today are facing rising anxiety about how to care for their elderly parents. The senior citizen population will triple by 2050 and people living over the age of 65 will increase by 111% according to Population Reference Bureau. Even though this advancement is a huge victory for the human race, as a generation, most millennials feel like they are overwhelmed by the future and what taking care of their parents entails.
Today, in the United States a significant number of caregivers are millennials. These millennials are also simultaneously balancing careers of their own and sometimes a family as well.
What many millennials don’t know is that they are actually at an advantage, compared to the previous generation that had to take care of the elderly population. Baby boomers who had elderly parents to take care of had much fewer options, not only that, the Silent Generation (born before 1945) mostly opted to age in place and frowned upon the idea of going into communities or Assisted Living. The options and level of care were also nowhere near the level that they are on today. Baby Boomers today are not following after their parents aging patterns and are therefore more keen to find alternative retirement options.
Unlike their parents, Baby Boomers don’t want to place the same burden on their children that their parents placed on to them. Therefore they are exploring different options such as; Retirement homes, Senior communities and maintaining their independence at home thanks to advances in technology.
Today millennials have more options than ever before when it comes to finding a happy place for their parents to age. Senior living communities have also been on the rise and the whole senior industry, in general, has been busier than ever, with most senior communities and nursing homes struggling to keep up with the demand. According to Forbes magazine, more than 70% of Baby Boomers want to explore the options of moving into better homes for their Golden Years.
Seniors today are opting for luxuries such as concierge services, technology, fitness, and personal training, group travel and social activities. As a result, millennials should have less guilt when it comes to considering the future of their aging parents, today more than ever before.
For those who still want their parents to age at home and care for them under their watchful eye, technology has been playing a major role, to help ease the burden of caring for a sick or elderly parent. The geriatric population is able to easily adapt with the help and advances in technology. Smart homes are greatly geared to help seniors live a more independent life and the options, plus ways to implement this are endless. These are just some examples of how smart homes can make seniors staying home and maintaining their independence a reality.
Comfort: motion sensors, smart thermostats, motion activated light switches.
Entertainment: Integrated technologies with different devices, music the can be played all over the house which can be very therapeutic for those with Alzheimer's or dementia
Safety: Smart alarms, wearable devices (ADL systems)
All of these technologies can also greatly battle some mental health issues that aging individuals have to deal with, such as boredom, depression, and loneliness. all of which has been an epidemic among the geriatric population.
Should millennials rely solely on technology for something like this? No, but it’s safe to say that technology brings its perks and it does provide some great ways for them to save time and money, while also being able to help their parents adequately. It’s a powerful system and one that will continue to be improved as time goes by.
This generational shift and changes in caring for elderly parents have been in the preparation phase for a very long time due to the increase in life expectancy and it continues to impress with its great value and efficiency. Millennials along with their aging parents are quickly adapting and learning of the many different options that the present and even more so the future, will bring and relying on technology for these types of choices. Thanks to technology and the many advances in the level of care, Millennials have an abundance of tools and resources to help them and their parents figure out different alternatives that can provide the best possible care.