Is there chauvinism in the cultural & family dynamics of caregiving?

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This is just an observation. But, I have noticed by reading many of the posts here, it seems that there are very few men involved in the caregiving of their parents or professional caregivers that are men. I commend the men who I have read are involved or directly taking responsibility for their elderly family member. But, I've also noticed many of the male siblings don't seem to give their sisters the help or support the so badly need taking care of mom or dad. What's up with that, and should we encourage change?

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Capnhardass -
So what about the tattoos etc?
Also, "Some people suck." "Many people suck." You don't suck. I don't suck.
Sorry to be such a girl.
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Male caregiver here.

Have just lurked until now, been reading for a few months, and found this board very helpful. Great to read all these stories of what people are going through and realize you're not alone.
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You know, while I absolutely agree that there is chauvinism in most cultures in terms of who provides care for the elderly,the young and the infirm, I in no way believe that is how things SHOULD be. It just is the way it is. I discussed this topic last night with my neighbor, who is a retired hospice nurse. In 20 years of hospice, she said she mostly saw female relatives caring for their terminally ill loved ones. There are a variety of reasons for that, but one is that it is more often the female who is AVAILABLE to do it. Even when adult children are retired, generally the females handle the hands-on caretaking and the men yell at the doctors, take care of the money, etc.

A few years ago my husband and I took care of his mother when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. My husband took the day shift where he was around to talk to the docs and other medical folks, and I took the night shift where I held her hand, prayed with her, laughed and cried with her, bathed her, changed her diapers, calmed her fears, and respectfully watched over her as she let go of this world and prepared to move on to the next. We took care of her at home in the final weeks and did the day shift/night shift, but my husband left the intimate hands-on care to me out of respect for his mother. When she passed, I held her hand while he paced around fretting that he should be doing something.

My friend, the hospice nurse, said that is rather typical. The men feel like they should be "doing something" and the women are more able to quietly let go.

This is not EVERYONE. I've known women who were useless drama queens when it came to taking care of someone who was unable to care for themselves. I know men who are calm, caring and selfless. I just think that culturally - across cultures - it usually falls to the women.
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My brother will do things to help my mom, he visits her but, he has a health issue (60 % lung capacity) plus has severe pain because he is a candidate for a hip replacement. He is limited to what he can physically do for her. Mom is not at a point where she needs help bathing or toileting and I would not ask my brother to help with those things because I know it would be too much for him (not all men). My brother is very emotional, a loving, nurturing man but he has his limits and it would tear him up too much to have to bathe or change our mother...it's not an issue of Oh this is gross and in no way would I change an adult's diaper. I respect this with my brother because he does visit, helps with what he can physically plus he is very supportive of me and sis.
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This sounds like a great topic for a research study in sociology...might even qualify for a gov't grant! LOL

It would be interesting to know the actual statistical percentages of invested male caregivers compared to female. I tend to think there's a sizable "invisible" population out there because many men - not all, but many - are generally less open/vocal about it than women. I'm sure there are MANY husbands caring for wives, fathers caring for kids, brothers caring for sibs (male AND female), and sons caring for parents. They just don't show up as often on forums like this because they figure, as Jessiebelle said and capnhardass so succinctly put it (LOL), they "don't need no stinkin' emotional support"....which I believe is also pure cultural bs, but that's a whole other topic.
I agree with Jessiebelle, esp. when it comes to sons caring for mothers or brothers caring for sisters, that men probably feel less "comfortable" in the role. I know my husband leaves the more personal aspects of his mother's care in my hands out of respect for her modesty and dignity...AND because he's fortunate enough to have me around to handle that stuff. He's still just as emotionally invested in her care as I am...possibly more...but he'd never admit that to anyone outside the immediate family.
I also agree with Jinx, that there are "nearly as many good-for-nothing sisters" out there. My two SILs are VERY comfortable with maintaining their distance and alleviating whatever shame or guilt they might be harboring over it by offering us the occasional verbal pat on the back..."You're doing a great job"..."You know how much we appreciate it"...."Don't know how you do it". (Grrr..)
Caregiving is a very nurturing, "mothering" kind of role, so it might be that women just fall into it more naturally than men. No man should just conclude that that excuses him from participating in the care of a loved one, but (imo) a certain amount of flexibility should be allowed. Even if he prefers taking a more peripheral role - yard work, "taxi driver", going to the laundromat, handling the bills - it's better than doing nothing at all! All in all, gender and cultural perceptions should NOT exempt ANYone's ethical and moral responsibility.
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we dont need no stinkin emotional support. lol
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It does seem that women do most of the hands-on caregiving. I don't know if it is chauvinism or not. It may be that women are more comfortable with the role than men are. Or it may be that more elders are female than male, so sons are not as comfortable caring for them. I have noticed men giving care in the community, but often the mothers are in AL or NHs. The sons do many things for them in the facilities, such as taking them to church or out to eat. When I see these things, I wonder if it is not perhaps the best way to do things. Everyone seems so much happier to the outside world. The elders have friends in their communities and the sons are able to continue working and taking care of their wives and children at home. We don't hear from these men here, because few probably feel the need for emotional support.
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Eyerishlass - I love this story, and think your brother is so awesome. I wish I would have had a brother like that! You are blessed.🌺🌻🌺
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oops. thats my default term of affection at times. the important thing is i never let her intimidate me. theres nothing to hide here.
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I'm always happy to point out male chauvinism. Women do the caregiving because they have the babies and traditionally nursed and diapered them.

But there's a story in my family about my newborn brother's first poopy diaper, which horrified my mother and her mother. My father, who had welcomed a baby brother at age 16, stepped right up and handled it with assurance. (He was not one to pass up a chance to assume a starring role.) He was also a wonderful cook. He was also rather sexist.

My sister-in-law, a woman, is so germ-phobic that I don't know how she raised a daughter, but she did. There are nearly as many complaints about good-for-nothing sisters as there are about brothers.

Capnhardass, we all know you can handle any challenge that arises. You hit the nail on the head about the two people involved being the ones to make the decisions.

(DO you have a beard, shaved head and tattoos? That poor dumb nurse was intimidated, that's all.)

PS: How did you know she's a hor? Did she give you her card?
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