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Like other subgroups, male caregivers often face unique challenges in their role. Awareness and understanding are vital to addressing male caregivers’ unmet needs so they can provide the best possible care for their loved ones.

Updated September 29, 2022

Promoting Awareness About the Unique Challenges Male Caregivers Face

When you think of the typical family caregiver, you probably don’t imagine a man. Chances are, a middle-aged woman comes to mind. It’s unsurprising, given that 61% of caregivers are women.

Between 2015 and 2020, the number of male caregivers fell by 1%, from 40% to 39%. But, given the ongoing generational shifts in traditional gender roles, it’s likely that this trend will reverse as Millenial and Gen Z caregivers step into their roles.

Like other subgroups, male caregivers often face unique challenges in their role. Awareness and understanding are vital to addressing male caregivers’ unmet needs so they can provide the best possible care for their loved ones.

Male and female caregivers share many, if not all, of the same challenges and experiences, such as:

  • Feeling like they have little choice about assuming their roles.
  • Moderate to high levels of physical and financial strain.
  • Career or income disruptions.

Both support bathing, meal preparation, finances, and other daily activities. However, according to a 2017 report by AARP, male caregivers report more discomfort with high-touch personal care.

While anyone might find hands-on tasks like giving baths difficult, personal care might be more challenging for those with less childcare experience, like changing diapers or bathing.

Another area where male caregivers reported higher discomfort was turning to others for help or support. This could occur from stigmas against male emotional expression, which is gradually diminishing. It could also be because some male caregivers view their responsibilities not as caregiving but as helping a loved one who needs it.

Additionally, men generally favor care management rather than implementation. For instance, a man responsible for his spouse’s care might be more inclined to hire a caregiver rather than provide it himself.

Male caregivers also turn to practical answers to caregiving obstacles, whereas women treat the emotions of why care is required. An example would be a man signing an aging parent up for Life Alert or other remote technology instead of something more hands-on.

Facts About Male Caregivers

According to Breaking Stereotypes: Spotlight on Male Family Caregivers, a survey by AARP Public Policy Insitute (PPI) in 2017:

  • The average age of male caregivers is 26.9, although the average age of adult children caring for an aging parent is 46.4. Men who care for a spouse are an average of 62.5 years old.
  • 37% refrained from telling their employer about their caregiving responsibilities. For millennials, that rose to 45%.
  • 49% of men felt they had no choice in taking on their role as caregivers. This number rose to 60% when caring for a partner or spouse.
  • 52% of male caregivers anticipate caring for someone in the following five years.
  • 56% of caregivers assisted with medical and nursing duties (75% for those caring for a spouse). 47% helped give medication or injections, but 72% reported having no prior training.
  • 62% state their responsibilities to be stressful, 46% report physical strain, ad 44% experience financial stress.
  • 62% found it necessary to assist with personal care and secondary tasks, and 54% found it difficult to help with more intimate responsibilities.
  • 63% of male caregivers report being the primary caregiver. Of this percentage, 52% had additional help, but 78% received no outside support.
  • 66% of men work 40 hours a week. 62% of this group had to make special work arrangements. 48% were late, left early, or took time off to handle caregiving duties. 15% had to take a leave of absence or work part-time.

Ways To Support Male Caregivers

It’s not uncommon for male caregivers (particularly older caregivers) to receive very little preparation – if any – for their new role. The lack of training can leave many feeling unprepared for more challenging duties like nursing, giving medicine, or intimate personal care.

And since men generally don’t look for the necessary assistance required for caregiving, they can become more vulnerable to issues that affect them physically, mentally, and emotionally. So, naturally, this can increase the risk of caregiver burnout.

Encouragement and insight can go a long way to benefit male caregivers. If you know someone (man or woman) responsible for someone else’s care, here’s how you can help:

  • Join a support group. There are many options available for in-person or online support groups. Not only can caregivers share their experiences, but they can get valuable insight from others in similar situations.
  • Practice self-care. Taking care of yourself might be the last thing on your to-do list, but when you practice self-care, you can better take care of others. Eat a balanced diet, exercise routinely, and try to get quality sleep regularly.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask other relatives to pick up duties or talk to your doctor about your health. Male caregivers often have difficulty reaching out when they need it the most. But having other people ready to assist can benefit everyone involved in caring.
  • Consider respite care. Taking a break from caregiving might be challenging, but some options may help. Non-profits like Well Spouse Association offer retreats for caregivers to take a break and recharge. Even giving yourself an hour each night (or once a week) goes a long way.
  • Talk to your employer. Many men don’t tell their employer about their caregiving role. Ask about workplace benefits or accommodations for caregivers.

The more people recognize how many men care for loved ones, the more support this group will receive. Here are three resources for male caregivers:

MeetCaregivers Supports Male Caregivers

So how can male caregivers get the proper support to care for themselves and their loved ones if they don’t recognize themselves as caregivers? Here are a few ways others can help:

  • First, regularly share your appreciation for his efforts.
  • Encourage him to share his thoughts and feelings.
  • Talk about other aspects of his life besides caregiving.
  • Encourage him to take a respite break and practice self-care.
  • Research local caregiver support groups or senior services to provide as-needed assistance.
  • Offer help for specific tasks (i.e., rides to appointments, grocery shopping) rather than waiting for a request.

When you need a break, a qualified in-home care worker from MeetCaregivers may be just what you need. Reach out to us online or on the phone today and learn how you can provide your loved ones with the care they need while you recharge and rebalance.

Call 1 (888) 541-1136 to talk directly with a care manager or Find A Caregiver online.

For more information and resources about senior health and safety, visit our Blog.

  • AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI). (2017, March 24). Breaking Stereotypes: Spotlight on Male Family Caregivers. Breaking Stereotypes: Spotlight on Male Family Caregivers – AARP Spotlight. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from
  • AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI). (2021, June 1). Caregiving in the U.S. 2020 – AARP Research Report. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from
  • Accius, Jean. Breaking Stereotypes: Spotlight on Male Family Caregivers. AARP Public Policy Institute, 2017,
  • Assisting Hands Home Care in association with IlluminAge. (2014, June 25). Supporting Male Caregivers: How Family and Friends Can Help. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from
  • Ianzito, C. (2017, April 4). The Hidden Male Caregiver. Male Caregivers and How to Support Them in Caregiving. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from
  • Jordan, V. (n.d.). Men as Caregivers for Seniors. Men as Caregivers – LIFE Senior Services. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from
  • Tucker, Jennifer. “The Differences Between Male and Female Caregivers.” Verywell Health, Verywell Health, 5 Sept. 2019,
  • Williams, Susan. “Caregiving: Tough Enough for a Man.” Atlas of Caregiving, 15 May 2017,

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