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Male Caregivers Have Special Qualities

Who comes to mind when you think of a family caregiver for an elderly person? Women have always been the primary ones who have stepped into those roles, whether they are taking care of small children or elderly parents. However, that’s changing, and there is a growing number of male caregivers in recent years.

In recent decades, gender norms in American society have started to move away from the conventional, where males are viewed as autonomous, determined, and natural problem-solvers and women are stereotyped as intrinsically nurturing and submissive. The traditional ideas of how our culture defines our responsibilities and expectations based on our gender or sex are being challenged by younger generations.

We don’t frequently think about how traditional gender roles play out as we age or what this means for male caregivers and the people they care for.

Male carers account for approximately 40% of all caregivers, according to the AARP.

According to research, there are important distinctions between men’s and women’s caregiving styles. Based on several research publications that were peer-reviewed and published in the prestigious American Journal of Men’s Health, the following is a summary of male caretaker inclinations.

 

Male Caregivers are Unique

  • Men are less likely to give direct personal care than women.
  • Men may find it particularly difficult to provide personal care, such as bathing, incontinence care, and grooming. For individuals who have never before provided childcare, this is especially true.
  • Male caregivers favor less physically demanding tasks like handling finances, providing transportation, and performing home upkeep.
  • Men are more likely to be task-oriented carers.
  • They are more inclined to see things like making meals, getting around, and scheduling doctor’s visits as issues that must be solved and necessitate a plan and strategy.

In order to actively improve a condition, the emphasis has to be on planning and problem-solving. This pragmatic and logistical viewpoint naturally entails less emotional processing and men tend to be good caregivers for this reason.

This is distinct from the emotion-focused strategy that women tend to employ more frequently, whereby they make an effort to reduce their stress by adopting a cheerful perspective, embracing spirituality, or seeing caregiving as a stimulus for personal development.

 

Male Caregivers Experience Burnout Less Often

While research has shown that both task-focused and emotion-focused caring strategies relieve stress, emotion-focused caregiving has longer-lasting effects that can lead to burnout.

Less often than women, men don’t express or disclose the emotional toll of providing care.

According to research, support groups are especially helpful for male caregivers in fostering a sense of community and camaraderie. Many male carers who value learning practical tips and resources respond better to support groups advertised as instructional.

Men and women alike need to express their frustrations and feel encouraged in order to know they are not alone. Caregiving may be a lonely road.

The future of caregiving will heavily rely on male carers.

Nearly two-thirds of people with Alzheimer’s disease are women, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s and other dementia diagnoses are anticipated to increase as Baby Boomers age.

Accordingly, women will no longer make up the majority of caregivers in the upcoming decades as the number of male caregivers increases.

Therefore, depending on how gender roles and caring responsibilities were socialized throughout their lives, male caregivers may have a unique perspective.

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