The Reef– Meeting the Unique Needs of Male Caregivers
Male caregivers are a vital emerging group in our mission of providing dementia specific services and education. We’ve been concerned that not enough male caregivers are taking advantage of what our organization has to offer and have launched a special suite of programs and services, called “The Reef” which is just for them.
Although women are still more likely to be caregivers, the number of men caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia has soared from 19% to 40% in the past 15 years.
It can be sad and lonely to be a male caregiver. Men are less likely to share their emotions and experiences. They are also less likely to reach out for help or will delay doing so, sometimes adopting a “go it alone” mentality. Men may compartmentalize caregiving, approaching it as a series of tasks, or as an extension of their job. Men also tend to hold in the emotions that arise during caregiving, or to express them in a more restrained way.
A husband may love his wife dearly but have no idea how to help her put on her panty hose. He may find himself making spaghetti, separating laundry and coordinating doctor’s appointments for the first time. It can be a bit overwhelming.
Caregivers almost universally face physical and emotional exhaustion, social isolation, and financial hardship. However, male caregivers often differ from women in how they approach the demands of the role, and in how they respond to its stresses.
Male caregivers can find some solace, healing, and community by reaching out to others who share their experiences. But understanding how men cope and seek support is essential to ensuring the male caregiver has access to the support and professional programs they need.
The Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center is now offering 2 very special support groups per month, called Caregiver Mixers, which are just for our male caregivers. The size of each Caregiver Mixer Group will be limited as it’s our belief that a smaller, more intimate group allows our male caregivers to share in a warm, relaxed and nurturing environment.
Our Coaching for Caregivers program was designed to provide clients with the opportunity to receive all of the benefits that come with attending a support group or caregiver workshop, and is available to our male caregivers on a one-on-one basis in a comfortable environment that they choose at a time that is convenient for them. We find that a lot of our male caregivers actually prefer to start with a few Coaching for Caregivers sessions and then feel more comfortable attending a Caregiver Mixer Support Group.
The Learning Lighthouse which focuses on the educational needs of the community by providing a Resource Library in our Lake Worth offices, has been expanded to included resources specifically for our male caregivers.
Our monthly Care for Fun™ programs provide our male caregivers with the opportunity to get out and spend some time socializing and having fun with other male caregivers. Sometimes we might take in a movie, go bowling or play cards.
And finally, each month on our YouTube channel and on our website, we are featuring a new series, called Therapeutic Thursdays™ which will provide even more in-depth, male-caregiver focused content.
We are so excited that these new programs and services will help further our mission of helping male caregivers to relax, renew and reach-out and help meet their own unique self-care needs.
Caregiver Cottage Monthly Calendar of Events
Our Top 5 Tips for Male Caregivers
To learn more about the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center and how we can help support you as a caregiver,
call us anytime at 877-760-9199 and remember, you are not alone.