When you think about the steroetype of the typical caregiver, most likely the picture of a woman in her forties or fifties, who is taking care of an aging parent, comes to mind. However, according to a report released in May 2020 by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, nearly 2 in 5 of all caregivers are men (39%). Additionally, male caregivers are more often younger (42% among those between 18 and 49) than those who are are middle aged (35% among those 50 to 49).
Male caregivers also experience the same challenges as their female counterparts such as feelings of high emoional stress and loneliness (72% as compared to 24% who do not feel alone); difficulty finding affordable services (37%); and a lack of information on at least one topic (62%).
However, the inherent nature of men to keep challenges private (one-third of male caregivers do not tell their employers they are caregiving) and to resist reliance on friends and family for support (38% versus 47% in females), makes them more at risk for suffering in silence.
With many men not having had as much hands-on caregiving experience and to be less likely to seek out community support programs, male caregivers experience signifcant physical, emotional, and financial burdens.
That is why it is increasingly important for all caregivers, not just male caregivers, to seek support as early as possible in the caregiving journey.
Community resources such as those listed below can be a helpful place to start. Being a caregiver is one of the most difficult roles an individual will hold in his/her lifetime. It is important for caregivers to know, they are not alone.
For Richard, it is important to have those subtle reminders that his wife is still with him. Watch “Sealed with a kiss.”