Men are Increasingly Becoming Caregivers

A higher number of women over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s as compared to men. Almost double. As a result, men are taking on the role of caregiver for their spouses. In some instances, men are finding that they are caring for their wives in the same ways their wives had cared for them with cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc… The following article showcases some heartwarming stories about what caring for someone and loving someone truly means. With our largest generation now becoming our oldest population, and with medical advances allowing people to live longer lives, we as a society are going to see the need for elderly caregivers increase dramatically.

The increasingly male face of caregiving
Men’s role in tending to loved ones with Alzheimer’s, dementia soars amid evolving views on gender roles, longer lives

Doug Wyman will get up early Tuesday to make breakfast for his wife, Barbara: coffee, oatmeal and fresh fruit. He’ll draw a bath and help her get dressed, then sit with her through her favorite morning TV shows.

Not because it’s Valentine’s Day. Because of love.

After 63 years of marriage, the couple had to develop their routine when Alzheimer’s disease left Barbara unable to do things herself. But it’s a routine that Doug Wyman — like a growing number of men who have assumed the role of caregiver in recent years — embraces proudly.

“She took care of me for 60-something years,” said Wyman, 84, of Oak Park. “It’s absolutely a pleasure to serve her now.”

In the last 15 years, the number of men caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia has more than doubled, from 19 to 40 percent, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The trend corresponds to the higher number of women over the age of 65 in the U.S. with the disease — 3.4 million, compared with 1.8 million men. Those demographics have changed the tone of local support group meetings by adding a chorus of male perspectives.

It has also prompted an outpouring of new books, organizations and online resources for men learning how to be nurturers.

Experts attribute the increase in male caregivers to several societal changes, including evolving gender expectations as well as new life-expectancy rates.

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