Millennials get a lot of flak from other generations. Often called lazy, or entitled, or selfish, this generation of people born between 1981 and 1996 tends to get a bad rap. But at Right at Home in Albany, New York, millennials are proving those stereotypes wrong. James Davis and Stacey Ellis, co-owners of Right at Home Albany, say that their millennial caregivers are superstars.
“Our younger caregivers are all old souls at heart,” says Ellis. “Their age rarely factors into their approach to work — their clients always feel seen and heard.”
Millennials currently comprise roughly one-third of Davis and Ellis’ caregiving staff, and that number continues to grow. With the increasing caregiver crisis, encouraging more millennials to pursue careers in caregiving might just lead to the solution we’re looking for.
“I Know My Grandmother Would Be Proud of Me”
Mikayla Goyer, age 25, has only been working with Right at Home for about a year, but she has worked as a caregiver since 2014. As a certified Personal Care Assistant (PCA), Goyer’s long-term goal is to work toward becoming a registered nurse, but her life doesn’t allow her much time or flexibility right now.
“I’m a single mom and it’s so hard to find jobs that fit my schedule,” says Goyer. “But with Right at Home, if my daughter gets sick, I can find another caregiver
Goyer truly loves caring for others, noting that even though it sometimes means working long hours, the end result of creating stronger connections with clients makes it rewarding.
“I love helping people,” she says. “I helped take care of my grandmother when I was younger, before she died of cancer. She was like a second mother to me, and I know that what I’m doing now — my grandmother would be proud of me. I just want to help as many people as I can!”
“It’s Really Fulfilling, I Know I’m Making a Difference”
Gloria Burden had several different jobs before discovering caregiving. The 36-year-old spent 12 years cleaning office buildings and houses before becoming an aide for a young girl with autism. Two years ago, Burden joined the care team at Right at Home Albany.
“I saw an ad from Right at Home, looking for companion caregivers,” recalls Burden. “It seemed perfect for me. It gave me the flexibility I needed to work but also care for my three-year-old son, and there is a lot of possibility for growth because I can eventually take on more hours once he goes to school.”
When Burden started with Right at Home, the business paid her tuition to complete a PCA training course, but she was able to jump right into providing clients with companion care. In that role, Burden helps clients with the instrumental activities of daily living, such as meal preparation, light housework, laundry, and simply keeping them company and talking to them.
“I love the personal, one-on-one aspect,” says Burden. “It’s really fulfilling. I know I’m making a difference in their lives.”
“The No. 1 Thing the World Needs Is More Caregivers”
At age 38, Syreeta Santa is an older millennial. She has been working with Right at Home for almost three years, and is also grateful for the flexibility a career in caregiving affords her. Santa has faced many challenges throughout her life — first, as a teen mom having to figure out how to care for a son with Hirschsprung’s disease, and later, navigating breast cancer, which forced her to stop working.
“The flexibility has been incredible,” says Santa. “I had personal issues that took precedence in my life, and there are very few employers that would be sympathetic to my situation. Right at Home provides great support, and they are just great people to work with.”
Once Santa was healthy enough to start working again, Davis and Ellis put her on the schedule, and she now works six days a week with clients. One of Santa’s favorite things about working as a caregiver is having the ability to take on as much, or as little, work as she needs. In addition to helping support herself financially, Santa finds the work extremely rewarding.
“Some people can be scared of working with older people, especially when it comes to personal hygiene, but that’s not really what the job is about,” says Santa. “It’s about connection, about making clients feel happy and loved. The No. 1 thing that the world needs right now is more caregivers.”
Choose Caregiving as a Career
Davis and Ellis talk about their millennial caregivers fondly, and are actively working on recruiting more of them to work for Right at Home Albany.
“It’s an entry-level position with a ton of growth options,” says Davis. “It’s an ideal career opportunity for people with empathy, for those who want to help others and also support themselves and their families. There’s a lot of work/life flexibility, and it can be less anxiety-inducing than working as a Certified Nursing Assistant in a hospital system.”
Davis and Ellis acknowledge that their millennial caregivers are well versed in highly skilled caregiving duties. The in-service training their office provides focuses on strengthening their “soft skills” — when caregivers are in the homes, they know how to connect and interact with their older clients.
“Older caregivers in our office have been hosting ‘game training sessions’ to help improve the millennials’ soft skills,” says Ellis. “They play board games like SCRABBLE, or learn how to play card games like bridge. It’s certainly not a bad way to work on career development!”