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Men in Caregiving Roles

Family caregiving is provided predominantly by women. However, in the past five years, the distribution of people providing care to family members has seen an increase in care given by men rise from 25% to 40%. Is the care provided different from the care provided by women? Maybe, it depends upon the man and his skills and style, but the weight of the work is no different whether the caregiving is provided by sons or daughters, grandmothers or grandfathers, sisters or brothers. The impact of providing care takes a toll on both genders, even if the particular issues are slightly different.  

If you are a male caregiver, what should you know to make your caregiving tasks easier?  

  • Know that you are not alone. Sixty-five million people provide care to a family member, twenty-six million of these caregivers are men.  
  • Prepare yourself for the role. Get as much information as you can about the specific needs of the person for whom you provide care. Talk with the doctors and therapists who provide health care for your relative. Talk with your family about the other needs of your loved one, and talk with the person you care for to learn their preferences. It isn't easy to provide care, but remember, it isn't easy to receive care either. Being in a dependent position is hard for all of us.  
  • Once you know what needs to be done, ask for help to get it all done. You don't have to provide all the care, you need to be the person in charge who makes certain it all gets done. If there are things you must do, get the training you need to perform the tasks. 
  • Remember to take care of yourself. If you find yourself eating or drinking more than usual it might be a sign that your feel stressed. Don't allow caregiving to jeopardize your health. It's important to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and keep your doctor appointments. You can't take care of anyone else if you don't care for yourself first.