When the topic of family caregiving comes up, many people envision women as primary caregivers. Traditionally, women have dominated in both family and professional caregiving roles. In recent years, however, the statistics on male vs. female caregivers seem to be changing. The gender differences in caregiving are becoming less pronounced.
Gender Differences in Caregiving
According to a Genworth Financial study, primary caregivers are still most commonly women, but male caregivers are closing the gap. Men now account for almost half of all family caregivers.
Some researchers believe this is because today’s caregivers are much younger than in previous generations. Almost 60% of family caregivers are between 25 and 54 years old. The average age in 2018 was 47, down from 53 in 2010. And younger men are less likely to adhere to gender roles of the past.
As you might expect, caregiving can take a substantial toll on the entire family. First, there is the financial impact both men and women caregivers face when supporting a senior loved one. Money-related struggles cited by family members in the survey included:
- Dipping into savings to pay for expenses
- Reducing contributions to retirement savings
- Selling personal possessions to finance care
- Leaving a job or cutting back on hours
- Forfeiting career opportunities or promotions at work
While family caregivers say the experience has its rewards, they struggle with challenges such as:
- 50% said they have less time to spend with their spouse and children
- 41% suffer from mental health issues ranging from mood swings to depression
- 53% cited stress as a major caregiving struggle
- 47% said their physical well-being had declined
Despite these challenges, many family members believe they should stay involved to ensure their senior loved one gets the best care possible. Fortunately, there are steps caregivers—whether they are men or women—can take to find balance.
Finding Balance as a Family Caregiver
When a senior loved one needs a helping hand to stay independent in their own home, it’s common for families to pitch in. That support can be supplemented by working in partnership with a home care agency. It’s often the ideal balance for caregivers, especially those who work outside the home.
Home care agencies have experienced team members to provide help with tasks such as:
- Attending to personal care needs like bathing, grooming, and dressing
- Menu planning, grocery shopping, and meal preparations
- Providing transportation to hair appointments, shopping centers, and other errands
- Performing light housekeeping duties like vacuuming, dusting, and doing the dishes
When home care is employed in conjunction with assistance from loved ones, the older adult and the family can all enjoy their best quality of life.
At Griswold, we offer services ranging from homemaking duties to overnight care. Call the Griswold location nearest you to learn more today!