Ladies and Gentlemen, Happy International Women’s Day!
Did you know that 57-81 percent of caregivers to older adults are women ? With women around the world being the predominant informal caregivers to loved ones, it is important examine why, and how it affects them.
Did you also know that despite the societal view of female as nurturer, there is no evidence to show that gender plays a significant role in determining quality of care, and that men might actually experience a lower amount of caregiver strain, stress, and depression ?
According to an academic report in The Gerentologist, “The fact that, in most studies, women caregivers’ CES-D means are above 16 suggests that approximately 50% of women caregivers are at risk for clinical depression.”
Of course, the majority of the academic research studies on the subject of gender, mental health and the caregiver experience centered on those providing care to persons with Alzheimers (often their parent). The above study states, “additional research is needed to further clarify the nature of gender differences in psychiatric symptomatology among adult child caregivers and those caring for physically disabled recipients.”
This is all to say… to all the mothers and daughters out there caring for your loved ones: please don’t forget to take care of yourselves, you’re stronger than you think, and thank you for all that you do.
With the science proving that gender does not play a role in the quality and outcome of care , hopefully we see even more men taking on secondary, if not primary, caregiver roles to offset the common stressors and develop coping mechanisms together with their female partners!