by Lucinda Koza
A study conducted by New York Life Insurance reveals many data points regarding shifting demographics in the ‘Sandwich Generation’ (those giving care for their children as well as their parents) that validate the experiences and observations of the collective here at I-Ally.
When I speak of ‘the collective here at I-Ally’ I mean myself, my expert consultants, and my fellow Millennial family caregivers that are either team members, users, or ambassadors.
Based on our respondents’ experiences, the research indicates that the demographics of the Sandwich Generation have become increasingly younger, more female, and more diverse.
We found that women now represent a greater proportion of caregivers – increasing by four percentage points in just the last two years (64%) – and Millennials grew ahead of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, now comprising more than one-third of all multigenerational caregivers.
MILLENNIALS NOW COMPRISE MORE THAN 1/3 OF ALL MULTIGENERATIONAL CAREGIVERS.
The increase in Millennials as part of the Sandwich Generation is also notable, given that the latter has historically been comprised of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. Over time, Millennials are expected to make up an even greater percentage of this demographic as caregiving responsibilities continue to shift and the population ages.
Over time, Millennials are expected to make up an even greater percentage of this demographic as caregiving responsibilities continue to shift and the population ages.
Illustrative of this demographic shift, our survey found that 40% of Millennials were currently more likely to be caring for an aging parent during COVID-19 than pre-COVID, versus 34% for Gen Xers and 13% of Baby Boomers. When considering the other long-term financial needs of Millennial families, like buying a house or saving for a child’s education expenses, this younger population may be more greatly affected by being part of the Sandwich Generation.
The data is here, people. Just like when I was young and Sunday School cultivated an image of a white, straight male God in my head, society has somehow created an image of family caregivers as old, white straight people. No wonder, when I sat alone in the hospital with my father, I felt such an extreme sense of being an outcast. I felt like the ultimate weirdo. Nobody knew how to talk to me and nobody knew how to do anything but act like I was not there. The cognitive dissonance engulfed me. I had no power, yet, I had all the power. I was in charge, yet, I was invisible.
The data of this study proves Millennials are the majority of multigenerational family caregivers. The data shows we are more diverse. We are gay, we are transgender, we are young, we are womxn, we are Latinx, and we are the ones taking care of most of the people.
The face of caregiving has changed and will only continue to trend in this direction. Millennials have become experts by experience; therefore, our voices should be heard. If we can be more present in society’s collective consciousness, perhaps when one of us suddenly becomes a family caregiver, we will not be treated or feel like a grotesque outsider.
The full white paper in picture form: