Male caregivers face unique challenges

By Colleen Van Horn, RN, B.S.N, PHN, CCM

Most people are familiar with women taking on caregiving roles in today’s society. According to the


, two thirds of all caregivers working with an elderly friend or relative are women. However, that means that the remaining third are

male caregivers

– nearly 14.5 million men, to be exact. That amounts to approximately six percent of the nation’s adult population – and constitutes a group facing unique challenges when it comes to providing care for elderly parents, friends and spouses.

The average male caregiver is approximately 49 years old, caring for an aging parent around the age of 77. While their roles may be somewhat different than women’s when it comes to providing elder care, men are just as dedicated to their caregiving tasks – and in some cases, able to contribute special talents and tendencies to the process. Of course, they also face their own set of roadblocks along the way. The following are examples of ways in which men approach and contribute to family caregiving.

  • While less likely than women to be the primary caregivers, men are nonetheless devoted to their duties. Trend reports show the same degree of dedication (approximately four years of caregiving) for both men and women.
  • Men are less likely to offer personal care – and with good reason. After all, it is not always comfortable for an adult male to help his elderly mother bathe or dress herself, whereas an adult daughter might perform these tasks with ease. When men are the sole caregivers, about forty percent use paid services to help with this issue.
  • On the flipside, men have a tendency to be more comfortable using technology as a caregiving resource. This enables them to use the internet for research, information and services.
  • These digital resources can be invaluable considering the fact that most men not only work full time, but also live farther away from their aging relatives and therefore often need to arrange care remotely.

While male caregivers are more common today than they might have been in the past, there are some arenas (such as the workplace) in which many men may still be reluctant to discuss their eldercare roles. For those who are struggling to balance their caregiving duties with professional responsibilities, or who desire guidance when it comes to creating and implementing an effective caregiving plan – whether at home or from a distance – professional geriatric care managers are here to help. At
Innovative Healthcare Consultants

, our experienced team can work with caregivers and their families to determine the best possible plan to suit their needs, schedules and budgets. To learn more or get resources for male and female caregivers alike, visit us online today, at