Statistics tell us that when it comes to unpaid caregivers, women are much more likely to fulfill this role than men are. But that doesn’t mean that male caregivers are uncommon. No, in fact recent estimates suggest that overall, about 45 percent of all caregivers (family and professional) are men. The old stereotype of women acting as caregivers simply does not hold true when looked at more closely.
Also, it’s worth noting that a lot of the makeup of who will take on the role of caregiver depends on where you are located. In cities, men are more likely to be caregivers because there are more job opportunities in this field and more people in search of jobs. While this adds to the stereotype that more women than men are caregivers, it does not prove that it is true. It just indicates that our backgrounds play a role in how we interpret things.
This is a large part of the problem, in all honesty. Many men enter caregiving reluctantly because they believe that they have more difficulties to overcome to succeed at their job than women do. This also keeps some very talented and compassionate men away from the professional field altogether.
This is a stigma that is far more hurtful than helpful. Men can be great caregivers, given the opportunity to do so. The statistics behind Alzheimer’s disease reveal another reason why so many men take on the role of family caregiver. While only 1 in 11 elderly men are likely to develop this disease, women face a much higher likelihood of having the disease, standing at 1 in 6. Out of sheer necessity, men may find themselves needing to care for a spouse just because women are more likely to need assistance than men.
Women also tend to have a higher life expectancy than men, indicating that women are more likely to not just live longer, but also need help for longer. At the family level, this might not have much of an impact on who becomes the caregiver for their mom, but it can eliminate a lot of older women from fulfilling this role later on.
Men can be great caregivers, both at the family level and at the professional one. Ideally, the caregiver that you choose should be the one that helps to best meet the needs of your elderly loved one. In some cases, it might be a man, in others, it might be a woman. It all depends on the needs that your loved one is up against and the specific training and background that the caregivers you are looking at have. Because there are more females in the profession than males, odds are you will see more of them, but this is based on pure statistics. Male caregivers can be just as prominent in some parts of the country, and they have the same background and training as their female counterparts. When it comes down to it, gender will not play a major role in your decision making process. Rather, focus on the needs of your family and how they can be best met.