When you think of a caregiver, you probably think of a middle-aged woman. 70-80% of older adults are cared for by a family member. 57-81% of those family members are female. Female caregivers may outnumber male caregivers, but that does not mean that they do not exist. As we’ve pointed out before on the blog, the face of caregiving is changing. Men have always been caregivers, but male caregivers are getting national attention as the number of men stepping into the caregiving role continues to grow.
According to a 2015 study by AARP, men make up 40% of family caregivers. Although the role is the same, men tend to approach caregiving a little differently. 54% of male caregivers help with daily living tasks (e.g., toileting) despite feeling uncomfortable doing so. One reason for this discomfort could be lack of experience; previous generations did not expect men to participate in caring for children so this could be new territory for them. Male caregivers tend to focus on resources and solutions instead of sharing their experiences and are more likely to bring in outside help than their female counterparts (37% vs. 27%). Male family caregivers are more likely to be employed than female caregivers (66% vs. 55%), but men are less likely to talk to their bosses about accommodations.
Male caregivers may also feel out of place in spaces that offer support for caregivers because caregivers are still seen as mostly women; AARP worked to change that perception when they released a series of videos in 2017 showing how tough caregivers truly are.