Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks!
Topic: Caregivers: Son, Brothers, Uncles, and Husbands
I watched television and was so impressed seeing how a family of men came together to care for their loved one. In a so-called female-dominated role, men are left out of the caregiver equation. We hear about the role they play from time to time. The word on the street is… because they work outside of the home, they don’t give their all.
Humbug! Hogwash! Foolery! Nonsense!
Today’s message is to begin to break the stereotype that caregiving is not a man’s world! Embrace these statistics from AARP.org stating men that are caregivers equates to 16 million male in the United States. Men are just as equipped to provide tender, loving care to their loved ones. It is a demanding role, regardless of who is in it! Men experience the same fears, anxieties, emotions as female caregivers, and rightly so. They may have some advantage in having physical strength, but providing care is providing care. The assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) occurs regardless of gender. They have the right to be overwhelmed and feeling burnout and not feel it is a female ‘thing’; it’s the reality of doing their best, getting tired and needing a break! Their labor of love is authentic and exhaustive. Supporting our men in the caregiving space is the message.
Men must get more attention and appreciation for their decisions to care for family and other care recipients. It’s a time-out for using gender as a limitation in the caregiver space. My husband did a fantastic job helping my mother. He did it all…and I mean…ALL. The willingness to assume the role of caregiver is often a decision that is not made entirely with forethought. Many times the decision is made for us. It presents itself, and we fall into place; however, the character and sacrifice of navigating the responsibility are to be commended, regardless of gender. Let us salute all our male caregivers, even the ones in training, our younger generation. We need our Generation Alpha, Millennials, and Generation X to start paying attention, REAL Attention! As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, can we stop the stereotyping and include our men in our discussions. They need support, guidance, and clasps as they work to fulfill the tasks they encounter in their caregiving space.