Men taking on more as caregivers for elderly parents

November 29, 2008 by  
Filed under Articles, News

The NY Times does an excellent story on a study by the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Alliance for Caregivers showing that men make up about 40% of the family caregivers. This percentage is up from 1996. I know that men can make GREAT caregivers because my ex-husband and best friend has been caring for his 97 year old mother for over a year and prior to that he helped his mom care for his father who had Alzheimer’s. However, I believe that he is an exception to the rule. I have seen so many brothers, husbands, and other male family members pass such duties off to the females in the family.

The sad part of the article is that male, like female, female caregivers can get very ill from caregiving. They must take on both the emotional, the physical, and the financial burdens as do the female caregivers. I wonder if men may get even more ill because in their upbringing they are not socialized to be caregivers. Of course empathy and caring are not female characteristics, but in general we reward females for exhibiting such behaviors and make sure males know that it is not acceptable. Luckily both of my sons are like their dad, compassionate, caring, empathetic, and proud of those traits.