Reducing stress for male caregivers is key
There are nearly 70 million unpaid caregivers in the United States, and despite most of them being female, a large portion, 34 percent, are male. Caregiving can be very rewarding and bring one closer to their care receiver in many ways, but it also comes with many unique challenges that can affect one’s mental, physical, and emotional health. Research conducted by Shanks-Mcelroy & Strobino, 2001, on male caregivers of spouses point to an increase in physical health ailments, moderate depression and feelings of burden, and feelings of stress related to care receiver needs.
What has been noted to be helpful in reducing this burden? One major factor associated with positive caregiver health is satisfaction with leisure activities (Shanks-Mcelroy & Strobino, 2001). Being able to engage in healthy, positive activities outside of caregiving is important for one’s own well-being which in turn can affect the well-being of the care receiver. To facilitate this and to maintain a healthy balance between personal life and providing care, it may be helpful to seek outside support for respite care. Normandale Center for Healing and Wholeness provides respite for caregivers. If you would like to inquire about our respite services please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, there are resources through your county of residence that may provide personal care attendants (PCA) services through an outside agency at little to no cost. Click on the link for more information on requesting a MNchoices assessment for PCA services: DHS-7283-ENG 7-17-20 (state.mn.us)
According to Mcfarland & Sanders, 2000, men may approach their caregiving role in a different manner than women and focus on obtaining education about specific tasks of the role. The study showed that levels of stress can be reduced as one continues to learn about the disease process, making the caregiver feel more in control of the situation. Some men may gain relief from conversation with other’s who understand what they are going through and can gain specific caregiving techniques in order to best care for their loved ones (Mcfarland & Sanders, 2000). Normandale Center for Healing and Wholeness offers up to three caregiver support groups per month. Consider joining one to feel less isolated and stay motivated to manage the big tasks of caregiving. Click to view our calendar of available support groups.
McFarland, P. L., & Sanders, S. (2000). Educational support groups for male caregivers of individuals with alzheimer's disease. American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias, 15(6), 367–373. https://doi.org/10.1177/153331750001500608
Shanks-McElroy, H. A., & Strobino, J. (2001). Male caregivers of spouses with alzheimer's disease: Risk factors and health status. American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease & Other Dementiasr, 16(3), 167–175. https://doi.org/10.1177/153331750101600308