Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Changing Caregiver Stereotype

When thinking about the word “caregiver” a few general things come to mind.  First a compassionate individual, likely to feel or have felt burnt out, and finally a female.  Studies are showing that this strong standing gender correlation to caregiving is deteriorating.  Over the years, the caregiving profession has been looked at through the eyes of many as a career built closely on being female.  Yet with baby boomers coming into retirement with longer life expectancies, men are breaking this stereotype as time goes on. 

According to the California Healthcare Foundation, 45% of today’s caregivers are men.  With the statistics of male caregivers escalating each year, men are now confronted with potential obstacles in the profession.  As men enter into the professional world, society presents them with career options that coincide with their gender: Policeman, CEO, Construction Worker, Salesman etc.  Now gender oriented professions are seeking to hold no limitations.  The U.S. as a population is actively pushing the boundaries of the societal stigma towards the caregiving profession.
With the gender confines of the caregiving industry being shattered, we can now see the immense benefits of males as caregivers.  With mobility assistance being a common necessity when finding a caregiver, a man’s strength can come in handy.  Hoyer lifts are regularly used when family members need assistance in getting in and out of their bed.  With males generally being stronger by nature, they would be a great amenity to loved ones in need of mobility assistance.
Another plus to having men join the caregiving field would be the comfort factor.  Some loved ones would prefer having a male caregiver for bathing and grooming purposes, and would find more comfort in having someone of the same gender taking care of them.  Traditionally the ratio for female to male caregivers has been unbalanced, however now family members who prefer a male are more likely to find that option.
While defying the once cemented stereotype, male caregivers are changing the preconceived notion of the role.  Gender aside, at the end of the day the act of caregiving takes a kind hearted individual with enough endurance, patience and compassion to assist loved ones in need of care.  

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