The informal caregiver, according to statistics, is a 49-year-old married and employed woman caring for her widowed 69-year-old mother who does not live with her. However, in actuality, there are more and more men who are finding themselves as caregivers; and both genders need care in about equal numbers. USA today ran a recent piece that highlighted the increasing role that men are playing in elder care. This trend was reflected in the recent 2011 census and other recent industry statistics. While women still make up the majority of informal caregivers, 55%, and still spend more hours a day care giving; men are also taking up the burden.
The statistics reveal that there is often a distinct division of labor between genders and the care giving tasks that they shoulder. For example, female caregivers reported that they did a majority of physical tasks, such as bathing, toilet assistance, and dressing. Male caregivers reportedly took on more administrative tasks such as tending to finances or arranging care.
It will be interesting to see how the support and services available for caregivers will change as the boomer population ages, especially as male boomers begin to need care in higher numbers. It therefore seems likely that we will witness a corresponding shift in the caregiver demographic itself. Do you think that this shift will lead to an increased demand and value placed male professional caregivers?
How do you think that the needs and support available for male caregivers should/will differ?
If you are a male caregiver what support have you had or wished you had?
Statistics taken from caregiver.org and the US Census