Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks

Men and Caregiving: We Salute You!

There are loads of research on family caregiving. When we think of family caregivers, women always come to mind. Just like in the nursing profession, we assume it is a female occupation. Tis’ true approximately 10% of the profession are males, but that should not imply the inability to care for a loved one. On some days, my husband sometimes took better care of my mommy than me.

The caregiving role’s stigma has been based on history. The reality and mind-set of a nurse female top-heavy profession have been the norm for years. Many do not realize that about 40% of men are caregivers, according to an article in the AARP Magazine

I was stunned by the limited information about informal male caregivers. Did you know they exist? Who are they? They are spouses, sons, uncles, brothers, nephews, and sometimes grandsons. The same obligations are necessary for male caregivers, like maintaining the day’s activities, grocery shopping, managing finances, cooking, and transporting care recipients to medical appointments. I wonder if we consider the mental wellbeing of the male caregiver like we view the female caregiver. I am sure they experience the same anxieties and apprehensions as their counterparts. The family relies on this population as well in an unassuming way. I will suggest the narrative changes. There is no difference in the prerequisite to providing care for someone. Male and female caregivers still must provide care, but often the personal or intimate part for the maintenance is why the male caregiver rarely is emphasized, especially if they are caring for a female. Care is caring!

The need for caregiving has no gender! The role of caregiving is emerging every day, and the welcome sign is up. It reads, “who so ever will… come.” Financial restraints will limit those who cannot afford to pay for services, so we must recognize all groups, including men who are skillful and competent to manage the caregiver world. Men need resources and support, as all of us do. Let us encourage our current and expected caregivers. Men of the caregiver world, we salute you!

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman is author and speaker. Her book: From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor shares caregiving tips.

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