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Men Increasingly Taking on the Role of Caregiver for Elderly Parents

Published January 3, 2013

The role of caregiver for an aging parent or other family member is traditionally filled by women. You may tend to picture women as caregivers to all segments almost exclusively.

But although the stereotype of women caring for elderly relatives is widespread, it is increasingly inaccurate. A recent Pew Research Center report says that in the United States, men take on that responsibility in 45 percent of cases.

Social norms are rapidly changing in 21st century America, and men are increasingly filling the role of caregivers for both the elderly and children.

Also, as increasing numbers of baby boomers reach retirement age, there are simply more elderly people in need of care, increasing the need for men to step up and contribute. And because elderly parents are increasingly geographically dispersed, the proximity of a child, rather than gender, may determine who must take on that responsibility.

Care-giving men may be more reluctant to seek assistance than women, but they should not overlook the many valuable resources available to assist those caring for elderly parents, including:

  • Services to assist in understanding and accessing government benefits available to seniors, such as a Benefits Check-Up from the National Council on Aging and Elder-care Locator from the U.S. Administration on Aging;
  • Work benefits available to employees of many large companies, such as free informational and referral services;
  • Geriatric care managers, who help assess medical needs, arrange in-home care, and more;
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs’ “aid and attendance” benefit, available to many veterans who served at least 90 days active duty; and
  • Community support groups specifically for caregivers.

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