Traditionally the role of family caregiver has been filled by women, and even today most caregivers are still women. However, in recent years there has been a shift towards more men fulfilling this role. Husbands, sons, brothers, and other male loved ones are stepping up to fill the needs within their families to care for their aging loved ones whether by necessity or choice. Today will discuss male caregivers and some of the mental and emotional challenges they face in this new role.
The Data On Male Caregivers
A recent survey indicates that currently, about 40% of caregivers caring for adult family members are men. This amounts to approximately 16 million male family caregivers in the U.S. today. The average age is 47-48 years old. Nearly half of the male caregivers surveyed said they felt that they didn’t have a choice but to take on the role of caregiver for their loved one- 6 out of 10 of those were caring for their spouse.
Unique Challenges For Male Caregivers
A report from the AARP stated that there are some common misconceptions that male caregivers only manage finances and provide transportation, when in fact they are providing an increasing amount of personal care to their recipients. Many provide care such as helping their loved one get in and out of their bed or chair as well as helping them eat, bathe, shower, or use the toilet. They perform these tasks despite feeling uncomfortable or finding the job difficult in some way.
It’s a difficult thing for any family caregiver to perform such personal tasks as bathing or dressing an aging parent, but these tasks can be especially challenging for men because they generally have less experience in performing these activities for others. Over half of the male caregivers surveyed stated that they found it quite difficult to help their care recipient with these intimate, personal needs.
Male caregivers are also performing tasks that would traditionally be performed by a nurse. In fact, over half of male caregivers have performed medical and nursing tasks while caring for their loved ones. Some of these tasks include administering medications, giving injections, and wound care. The most challenging part of it is that 72% of them said that no one prepared or trained them to perform those tasks. They had to learn it on their own. And male caregivers are more likely to be employed 40 or more hours per week in addition to their caregiving. This is true for 66% of male caregivers versus 55% of female caregivers.
Access To Support For Male Caregivers
With all of the challenges that male caregivers face it’s easy to see how the job can be quite stressful. And although many of these men chose to take on this responsibility because they wanted to care for their loved ones, the tasks involved with their care can become very overwhelming. This is especially true of those tasks that their skills and knowledge are lacking in and those that push their comfort level.
Men in this position need to reach out for support and resources to aid them through this journey. This may be the right time to think about the benefits of a senior living community for your loved one. There are a lot of options to suit your loved ones’ needs from respite care to memory care, assisted living, and independent living. Each option has its own advantages. Caregivers must carefully consider both their own needs as well as the needs of the seniors in their life. Self-care and mental health are of vital importance for caregivers because if you don’t take care of yourself you can’t provide the best care for someone else.
At Ashbridge Manor Senior Living we pride ourselves on creating an environment that enables seniors to lead a fulfilling, socially active lifestyle and independent lifestyle. When it’s time to transition your aging loved one to a senior living facility, contact our professional staff members and we can help make it easy. You can find us at 971 E. Lancaster Avenue in Downingtown, PA, call 610.269.8800, or contact us online for more information. Ask us about our move-in special!