Men who are caring for parents are a growing group. Forty percent of all family caregivers are men, up 19% from 1996. The common perception is that caregiving is relegated to sisters, wives and daughters. Many more men are caring for parents as society and family roles change.
Men face the stress of trail blazing a new role. They must combat the stereotype that they are not nurturers. The lack of support men feel can make being a parent care provider even more difficult
Men are more likely to keep their caregiving role to themselves especially in the workplace. Worried about being perceived as less dedicated than other employees they may not confide their situation to their supervisor and are less likely to use senior assistance programs offered by their employers.
In our society, men are encouraged to be problem solvers. The declines associated with caring for parents can be very frustrating and add another layer of stress to the experience.
How you can cope with the special challenges of being a caregiving son, brother or husband?
- Build a support network of people you can confide in. Connect with other men who are caregiving and share your values that caring for parents is an important responsibility. Lack of role models and the male perspective in elder care can be daunting, so build extra support for yourself.
- Focus on maintaining your physical and emotional well being. Exercise, eat right and taking regular breaks from your parent care responsibilities.
- Trust your caregiving instincts. Providing senior assistance is likely a new experience for you. You may be getting feedback from others that they find your role as caregiver unexpected. When this happens, remind yourself that your best qualifications for the job are love and commitment to the well being of your family member.
- Learn about resources that can help you care for your relative. By leveraging your caregiving duties with outside senior assistance, you can provide better care and prevent caregiver burnout
In a recent New York Times article, men caring for parents were interviewed.
Read the article to hear what they had to say.
Share your stories. What are the unique caregiving challenges you have faced because you are a man?
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