Over the last four years, I have been fortunate to witness some incredible acts of love by husbands and sons who have stepped up to become an amazing caregiver. They have taken care of their spouses with dementia and their mothers with cancer.
Men have not often been raised to be the primary caregivers in a family; however, out of necessity, men are helping with day-to-day tasks such as dressing, bathing, cooking, cleaning, and medication management.
One of my clients was a genuinely excellent caregiver for his wife during her long-term illness. He was always by her side during the ups and downs of her journey, working hard to keep her smiling and laughing along the way.
Male caregiving is not a novelty. In fact, 40 percent of caregivers are men.
Some tips for men as caregivers:
Find the Silver Lining
Caregiving is a stressful time and men need to find the positive aspects of caregiving such as the increased time spent with their loved one and the satisfaction of being able to help.
Continue to take care of yourself by maintaining a healthy diet, getting frequent exercise, and scheduling routine visits with your own healthcare provider.
Ask for Help
Caregiver stress and burnout can be reduced by looking for outside help. Maybe it is from another family member, a friend, or from a paid caregiver. It is not a sign of weakness or failure if you can’t do it all. Get help, so you can keep up with the demands of caregiving.
Join local support groups or attend workshops to learn more about how others are facing the challenge of their loved one’s condition. Consider taking cooking classes or other classes to feel more comfortable in your new role.
Men can be great caregivers and can find it rewarding to be able to help their family member. It has been my privilege to work with great men as they took care of a loved one. Severino Health Advisors is there to support these families during their journey.