“For millennials…the pandemic has brought into stark focus the need to balance the logistics of parent care with the needs of their children… finances and Zoom calls..”
A domino effect of the pandemic has been anxiety about the health and well-being of oneself and their loved ones. Millennials, who previously, did not identify as caregivers are now suddenly finding themselves in this position. Since people above the age of 60 are most vulnerable and at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, millennials are now worried about the health and safety of their parents. The virus has highlighted the never seen fragility of people over the age of 60.
Those millennials that were living away from their parents are very anxious about the condition of their parents and waiting for the lockdown to be lifted so that they can go back home. Some millennials who were already facing depression due to their parent’s condition were more affected by the lockdown and worried about getting medication to their parents. On the other hand, millennials that moved back to look after their parents are taking extra precautions to ensure the well being of the family during the crisis.
“You feel inadequate. There is anticipatory grief, you feel like their safety, security, medical safety might be compromised. There is a certain helplessness about it.” – Mental Health expert, Pooja Priyamvada
Pooja Primyamvada, a mental health expert and columnist says that most of the millennials now reaching out to her express anxiety about being away from parents. There is a pattern of caregiver fatigue, which has resulted in a lot of anxiety. Being unable to provide care for reasons such as restricted mobility, geographical distance, financial situation, etc further leads to feelings of helplessness and depression. Millennials who are now caregivers are worrying about various things that they previously were not affected by.
“The pandemic has changed the way they are viewing the elderly.”
According to WHO, even though India is a collectivist society and has a close-knit family structure, only 20% of Indians are actually living with their parents. However, this pattern seems to be changing. A lot of millennials have moved back with their parents to assist them with the lockdown. While other millennials claim that the equation with parents can change with a diagnosis as parents became emotionally dependent on them. During the pandemic, more and more children have begun calling parents at least three times a day instead of one time a day and some are now considering major decisions such as buying a house closer to parents.
Millennials are now more conscious about not infecting their parents, their parents’ diet, combating fake news, and doing everything in their capacity to keep their parents safe.
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