On the Frontlines of Caregiving: Shining A Light on Male Caregivers

Lynette Whiteman

On the Frontlines of Caregiving: Shining A Light on Male Caregivers

Lynette Whiteman
Did you know that according to AARP, in 2017, there were 40 million caregivers in the United States?  Of this number, 40% are men and this number is increasing.  I think this is great news and hope this number only continues to rise.  More importantly though is, do men and women do different things as caregivers?  What I mean is, are women left with "traditional" chores like bathing, diaper changes, and hands-on care, while men do the driving and paper work type things?

If this is how a family wants to divide responsibilities, more power to them.  My thought is that women are not genetically engineered to do the hands-on care, men are perfectly capable of doing these types of things as well if needed.  I think the tide is turning on dads and the care of infants.  I don't know any dad now who says "oh no, I don't change my babies diapers, that's the moms role."  Maybe I'm living under a rock though.   I'm hoping as this generation of men get older, they will also share ALL the caregiving duties with their sisters.

On my podcast "On The  Frontlines of Caregiving", I interviewed author Rick Lauber. Rick was a former co-caregiver for his own parents - his mother had Parkinson's disease and Leukemia, while his father had Alzheimer's disease.  Rick used these experiences to help other caregivers navigate this time in their life. Following his parent's death, he served on the Board of Directors for Caregivers Alberta and wrote two caregiving guide books -  Caregiver's Guide for Canadians as well as The Successful Caregivers Guide.

Through sharing his personal experiences being a co-caregiver along with his 2 sisters, Rick shares his appreciation for all caregivers and the importance of making this a team effort whenever possible.

Would love to know what you think about the roles of men and women in caring for an older family member or spouse.  Do you think the tide is turning or we have a long way to go??

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Annamaria

I think the tide is turning somewhat. I have a male co-worker who spends one of his days off every week with his mother in law providing her daily care. He seems to be glad to help out. I suspect the millenial generation will include more male caregivers.