My name is Lyndzey, and I was a young caregiver.
I was a young caregiver for my sister who has a developmental disability. She was born when I was 9 years old. She is currently 22 years old, but her brain development is that of an 8-10 year-old. In a sense I’m no longer a young caregiver, but I am still caring for my sister – and will do so for the rest of my life.
My mom worked a lot when I was young, so I wanted to help out by cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, putting my sister and younger brother to bed – even though this wasn’t asked of me or expected from me. I took on these tasks because I wanted to.
As a child, I didn’t prioritize participating in activities because I wanted to help out at home. I really liked being helpful and it gave me great purpose and an amazing relationship with my sister, but at times it made me feel jealous because I couldn’t do what other kids my age did in their spare time. And the odd times when I did do something fun outside the house, I would feel guilty for not being there for my sister. But despite this, I still wanted to stay at home to help out.
Powerhouse didn’t exist when I was young, and I didn’t have another way to deal with my feelings so the build-up of them resulted in anxiety. It was hard to deal with and I ended up burying my feelings instead of dealing with them.
By chance, I heard of the Young Caregivers Association when I became an adult. Learning about the term “young caregiver” was quite a relief. It felt freeing and uplifting to know that being a young caregiver is a thing – it’s not just an expectation of being a big sister. It validated what I had gone through in my childhood!
I would love for every single young caregiver to be seen and understood. I would love for all of them to have a place like Powerhouse to go to, so they have a place to be seen and understood.
“Learning about the term “young caregivers” felt freeing. It validated everything I had gone through.”
– Lyndzey, 30 Years Old, Caring for her sister, (Perspective as a former young caregiver)