I’m so excited to announce that I am presenting an interactive panel on Tuesday, April 26 at 6 pm EST entitled, The Future of Caregiving: Millennials and the Caregiving Crisis, at Stupid Cancer’s annual virtual conference for the adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer community. This year, Digital CancerCon will run from April 16 – 30 and include two weeks of breakout sessions, discussion groups, and resources that support the AYA cancer experience at all stages. Whether you’re a patient, survivor, caregiver, or professional, there’s a session for you. And the best part is that the conference is free to attend, and you can tune in from the comfort of your home.
As a thyroid cancer survivor, I share my story to help others, to advocate for better care, and to offer resources that have helped me. When I was first diagnosed in 2013, I was overwhelmed by all the websites and support groups I came across that shared surgery and post-cancer horror stories. I decided then and there that I wanted to start a blog to share my journey and to help other patients feel less alone and more in control of their health. But when I became a caregiver to someone in long-term care, I realized that resources were hard to come by and people would point you in a million different directions, leading to feelings of frustration, guilt, and burnout. After more than 700 days of nightly visits to see my grandmother in the long-term care facility that she now calls home, I’ve learned a lot. And that has led me to want to create change, not just for those who need care, but for those who provide care, too (both paid and unpaid).
My panel at Digital CancerCon centers around millennials and the current caregiving crisis, a large demographic that fills a role that will only expand as our nation continues to age and faces a growing shortage of professional caregivers. By 2029, millennials will make up the largest segment of the workforce, yet they will also need to make provisions for aging parents. All of this will take place as many of them are paying off student loans, changing jobs, looking to purchase a house, getting married, or starting a family. I know firsthand how the stress of managing a loved one’s care has affected me, and this panel session will look at how, with a lack of professional support, future caregivers will be impacted economically, mentally, and physically. Along with my co-panelists, who are both millennials, caregivers, and who have been impacted by cancer, we will share how we manage our caregiving responsibilities and discuss ways current and future caregivers can care for their loved ones and themselves.
If you’re looking to connect with other patients, survivors, caregivers, and professionals, or just want to join a supportive community where you can learn about issues affecting young adults, register for CancerCon. I’m looking forward to connecting with everyone and helping young adults to become better advocates for themselves and their loved ones.
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