Men Are From Mars?


by Jason D. Johnson

I don’t want to flood this article with statistics, but consider a few if you will:

29% of people in the United States “caregive” in some capacity.

85% of people 65 years or older were projected to use some sort of caregiving assistance after the year 2011.

36% percent of people who do provide caregiving in some way are caring for a parent.

14.5 million of people who provide care are males.

A few weeks ago I came across an article in the Chicago Tribune that detailed days in the life of several male caregivers.  With the growing number of adults in our country 65 and over, it only stands to reason that more and more males are becoming caregivers.  For many, it is a strange place to be.  Culturally, our country has often thought of the female members of the family as being the nurturing ones.  In fact, much of the advertising seen across the country for senior living communities focuses on the adult female child.  While a daughter caring for a parent or a niece caring for an aunt has never been a subject that was necessarily held close to the vest, apparently being a male caregiver is for a lot of people.

I didn’t realize the above until the Chicago Tribune article.  Reading that article (an article that has made the circuit on many healthcare blogs already) provoked me into searching for more articles regarding trends with male caregivers.  Many of them touch on the fact that many male caregivers, while giving a 100% effort in the care of their loved one, are not discussing it publicly.  They aren’t telling their boss why they are taking the day off.  They aren’t disclosing it at dinner with friends. That’s something I would have never considered to be anywhere near taboo.  If anything, I’d hold a male caregiver the same as a female caregiver – a hero.  That’s what they are.  They have a responsibility to their family and they are fulfilling those duties, much like their parents fulfilled theirs.  Regardless of gender, every caregiver (paid or unpaid) deserves our full support and knowledge.

Below are a few choice articles on sites that contain more information on caregiving and being a male caregiver.  If you or someone you know is a hero and could use a little more information or support as a male caregiver, these are worth sharing:

The Chicago Tribune Article Article on Caregiver Stress Syndrome Different for Men

AARP Article on Caregiving and Relationships

Aging Care Article on Men as Primary Caregivers for Elderly Parents



Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman. 


2 Responses to “Men Are From Mars?”

  1. CAISSG says:

    Very good article and very much needed. I think male caregivers do the right thing but just do not talk about it. As a result, a stereotype is created and then perpetrated by a few bad apples. Males are humans just like females and caregiving is a human quality.

    • Davi says:

      February 12, 2012I think along the same lines as G-J here.Also, what does this mean to Hubby, to me?He doesn’t have Alzheimers but does have Lewy Body Dementia.What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other.What about other demetnias? In January 2011, President Obama signed the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, which calls for an aggressive and coordinated national Alzheimer’s disease plan. The Act also establishes an Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services, which brings together some of the Nation’s foremost experts on Alzheimer’s disease to inform the development of the national plan. The preliminary framework for the National Alzheimer’s Disease Plan identifies key goals including preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. As work on the plan continues, the Obama Administration is taking action. A Plan? A planning committee? More Experts to get together and do more surveys and decide that Alzheimers caregivers have stress and needs? They just need to join a couple of caregiving sights and they can get all the data they need for planning. A FB acquaintance and Alz patient wrote the following: In 1906 Alzheimer’s was identified. That was 106 years ago. Only 3 drugs in all that time have been found to maybe help slow progression. It is fatal. It has no cure. the National Plan proposes effective treatment by 2025 . 13 years away. In that time another 1, 376,208 Americans will die from Alzheimer’s. Thats based on the death rate from 2006. AD has increased 66% in that time. I will be one of those who will die. I am only 50. Heart breaking. And no planning can reduce that.

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