Millennials in senior living and care for our 21st century and beyond

Our first of our series on millennials in Senior living and care for our 21st century and beyond

How millennials can help with their beloved elderly needing senior living and care? 

Age is never a barrier to growing old or showing an interest in aging and geriatric care (eldercare). If we look back at our history, many have been raised by their grandparents or many have cared for their grandparents… 

I recollect many instances in my career as a geriatrician where the elderly awaited their grandchildren’s visits, as they had outlived their own children or lost them due to unfortunate circumstances. The very joy of such relationships can become either a burden or ease out as grandchildren become caretakers of their grandparents. Now we might think, what about the myriads of young people, whom we call millennials, who are simply humans who are taking a path towards caregiving and elder care in various ways? Well, this is what we truly should want and anticipate, because diversity, equity, and thoughtful opportunities are the cradles of our future civilizations! 

So, without any particular order, here are some key takeaway points for millennials interested in helping our elderly and grandparents in our communities:

If you are a caretaker for the elderly, there are multiple options, or ways, as I call them, to get the necessary help, and they all depend on resources that are available financially, physically, and mentally. An elderly person’s health condition determines the majority of the trajectory of life! Yes, it is easy to shrug it off, but for a cozy life, health is a very crucial component, as health is wealth and life. Caring for the elderly must be wholesome and a partnership… This partnership extends beyond just the millennial caregiver and the elderly but also a halo around this bond, which includes the support system, family members, physicians, and many others. Well-being is not just mental health, it is a lifestyle that transcends beyond ages..

While we realize the various ways millennials help, here are a few: being a paid caregiver, working with home care, home health, or hospice, independently, or as an unpaid volunteer caregiver, or someone that handles everything for their elderly relatives. Many of our age with no children of their own look forward to helping their nieces or nephews care for them. As I saw, across states, time zones, and these are some of the ways relationships help the elderly thrive, rather than shrivel! 

Yes, there is a need for education and empowerment, and this is our philosophy here at mihygge, for my cozy living goes deep…

Some key takeaways for our millennials: 

Use technology for the elderly, as the power of technology goes beyond just looking for answers… it builds a community, 

Ask questions and don’t be afraid to seek the truth as many a life has been saved through humility and boldness

Be vulnerable and not everyone has all the answers, 

Geriatric care is not constant, it changes, sometimes per day, and sometimes is stable for days or even weeks, so such drastic changes are absolutely normal, 

Care for yourself too. Self-care is the best way to alleviate any hard or exhaustive or negative feelings, as well as guilt… For many a life has been lost to overdoing than to underdoing… one cannot work oneself to one’s own destruction. 

Sharing caregiving is very fruitful, many instances where caregiving is heavy duty. In such circumstances, respite care is valuable. Even for a couple of days. Respite care is provided through senior living, care homes, personal care organizations, and even home sharing.

An adaptive mindset is helpful, for even if wonderful care is provided, there are circumstances where our elderly are best served with care from others 24/7. Such help is not a stigma, but a blessing, as many elderly people staying at home are lonely, long for the companionship of their own age, reminisce, chat with people, or even enjoy life’s simple pleasures in their own way. Age differences can sometimes creep up as a barrier rather than as a boon. 

What, then, are the elderly missing? Is it just the above or something else? Time and again, I saw that no one life suits all, as the elderly age, their interests, lives, motivations, curiosity, and the meaning of life change. Would that mean they would become less engaging? Silent? Disinterested? and even depressed? Mental health decline is possible and happens. They are not the fault of anyone’s caregiving. This question was asked of me so many times in my past career, that I felt I must address this here. Feelings of guilt, of not having done enough, having tried enough, or having done better, are so commonly seen in caregivers. Why is it that there is never an easy moment of complete satisfaction? either of their own values, purposes, or thoughts or due to a lack of acknowledgment by our elderly. 

Such scenes that play globally call for guidelines, tailor-made for each specific family member… In this case, our younger generations care for the skipped generations. As people grow older and have families of their own, partnerships, relationships, and elder caregiving can become a burden and sometimes a nuisance. In most circumstances, it was never meant to be but it happened as interests changed, priorities did, and so did one’s life… Elder neglect and abuse become prominent, and to avoid this, complete planning is necessary. Financial and retirement planning best serve all cases. When it is time to move from an elder to senior living, it might be the best choice made… for it saves not only sanity on either party but also helps one follow the laws. These new homes are oftentimes wonderful homes for the elderly. Having worked in many such scenarios for a decade plus, I have recollected so much happiness, on either side. People are here to care. People are here to receive care. People are here to feel safe and secure and to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. 

The cycle repeats itself — the children of a grandson or granddaughter now get to see how their parents are caring for their seniors. We must remove the stigma of settling down in senior living and care, for every person is special, different, and deserves the best in life. This stigma is not only harmful to our future generations but also to our current… Mental health always comes at a price and a caregiving crisis is always too late sometimes. Having seen younger caregivers succumb to disease, stress, and illness while caring for the elderly, it is best to cherish our millennials while caring for their grandparents or elderly citizens of our world. Caregiving is tough and not easy at all. 

A world where we can empower our families, caregivers, and elderly with choices in a cozy life will give rise to happiness and bountiful mother earth. When we are grateful for what we expect or give, our communities will be enriched, and longevity will be about life’s simple pleasures. As we age, we must remember that graceful aging is about graceful aging. Culture can be a blessing or not in many ways. Our children and grandchildren are here to live their lives, and yes, it would be great to have them as caregivers, but it should never be at the cost of their humanity. 

As the blog ends, we would like to give a tribute to all the wonderful young caregivers out there who have cared for our elderly. They are a force to watch… but they are also a force that will change the course of our aging worlds! We would love to hear what you have to say, all suggestions or comments are welcome and thank you for reading our new blog series! Thank you

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