From Gen X to Gen Z, everyone is navigating the caregiving journey their own ways

Published: Monday, October 24, 2022 - 4:42pm
Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2022 - 1:27pm
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Coverage of aging is supported in part by AARP Arizona

Unpaid family caregiving is difficult no matter how old you are. But different generations sometimes approach this critical role in different ways. 

Janet Pohl is an assistant professor at the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation at ASU. She says Generation X, those between the ages of 42 and 57, are the new sandwich generation. 

"People in the sandwich generation are caring for children that they have in their home, and also at the same time caring for a loved one outside of their home or within their home," she said. "So they're caring for multiple generations."

Millennials, who are between the ages of 26 and 41, are running into different hurdles. This is the stage of life when they’re starting families or establishing careers. 

"And so when they're caregiving at this stage of life, it tends to impact their future a little bit more," she said. 

Pohl says Gen Z is also caregiving.

"I would say that the big difference in the care is, the millennials tend to be caring for, compared to all the other generations of caregivers, they're caring for a higher percentage of care recipients with mental health or emotional health problems."

Pohl says we’re also starting to see Gen Z caregivers. These are people between the ages of 10 and 25.