More than 40 million people provide unpaid care to a family member or loved one, according to data from the National Alliance for Caregiving. But these statistics leave out youth caregivers: a group of more than a million young people under the age of 18 who care for a family member because of a chronic health condition, disability, or a mental health problem, including addiction.

The last time youth caregivers were surveyed was 2005, and the statistics from that survey show there are between 1.3 and 1.4 million young people who fall under the definition “youth caregivers.” Host Frank Stasio talks to Elizabeth (Betsy) Olson about the research on youth caregivers and what support is available for them. Olson is a professor of geography and global studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Twanna Monds also joins the conversation. She’s a board member for Bookend Caregiving, an organization dedicated to supporting children who care for parents or grandparents. She’s also a school counselor in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School District, and she was a youth caregiver for her grandmother, who had diabetes. Monds has multiple sclerosis and is considering the possibility that her young children might become her caregiver in the future.

For details and the full interview: http://wunc.org/post/hidden-struggles-and-rewards-youth-caregiving

Dr. Betsy Olson (second from left) with Frank Stasio, host of WUNC’s State of Things, collaborator Twanna Monds, and author Frank Morelli

 

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