MEN AND THE CARING ROLE
Typically, a man’s masculinity is measured by his ability to be strong, aggressive, tough, intelligent, confident and independent. Caring and nurture are characteristics not often associated with males but every man has a different experience and unique responsibilities in life. The same can be said when it comes to the caring role.
Carers Australia, the national peak body representing informal, unpaid carers in Australia provides the following definition of the caring role –
“Carers are people who provide unpaid care and support to family members and friends who have a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness, an alcohol or other drug issue or who are frail aged.”
Providing care and support can be done in many different ways and cover a wide variety of responsibilities. Some of these may include -
assisting with mobility
personal care (showering, dressing)
There are hundreds more different 'things' that need to be considered when managing the care of someone in need. It can be time consuming, complicated, uncertain and frustrating - particularly when things don't go as planned. There is no manual or guidebook for the role but connecting with local services can assist with ideas and strategies to better manage your caring responsibilities. This may lead to stronger relationships with the person being supported and time to spend focused on your own health and wellbeing.
Whilst being a man typically means being strong, tough and independent, the caring role can be an emotional experience. Whether you talk to a mate or do it anonymously over the phone, it is important to acknowledge whatever feelings you have. Seeing a loved one in pain, upset or unable to participate in life as they would like is difficult. Men Care Too recognises the unique nature of being a man with a caring role in today’s society, there are many challenges, both real and perceived that can make it a lonely experience.
You are not alone, there are almost 1.2 million men in Australia in a caring role (Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers in Australia)
One priority of Men Care Too is to encourage more men to share their stories, more men to talk about the caring role and more men to access services which will lead to increased awareness and reduce isolation by growing visible communities of men in caring roles.