Why Don’t We Hear Much About Them?
By Samantha Stein
When we talk about family caregivers and read about them online, we often picture women—daughters or wives—caring for their loved ones. In fact, the majority of research studies and surveys online are about female family caregivers and the struggles that they face. This brings one question to mind: What about the male care-givers?
For decades, care-giving has been perceived as woman’s responsibility. When one family member falls ill, the duty of providing care often goes to wife, daughter, or mother because of their love for family or because it was expected of them. This may be attributed to traditional roles: the man of the household provides while the woman nurtures. However, times are changing, and the lines between gender roles are quickly dissolving. Often out of necessity, more men are rolling up their sleeves to fill in the role of family care-givers.
Identifying with the Role of Caregiver
Care-givers often end up making drastic changes to their lifestyles in order to accommodate the demands of care-giving. Some choose to leave their careers and put having families of their own to the back burner. Others are put under great emotional and mental stress as they watch their loved ones battle ailments and health conditions. They dedicate not just their time but their resources and well-being to ensuring that their loved ones receive the care and support that they need. Care-giving takes so much from a person, and they need all the support they can get.
However, the danger in this situation is that male caregivers often do not see themselves as such. They view the responsibilities that come with care-giving as simply part of being a family and nothing else. This then leads to fewer chances of identifying their concerns and effectively addressing them.