What’s Honor Radar this week? The increase in male family caregivers, the many sacrifices caregivers make to be there for a loved one, job and business opportunities rising from the caregiving boom, plus an uplifting trailer for Cyber-Seniors, a delightful documentary.
What Real Men Do
A Son Cares for His Aging Mothers – The Wall Street Journal
83 year-old Melida Butler suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, which makes climbing stairs, turning stove knobs, and buttoning her shirt especially difficult. Her son Marcus Waller, a Chicago postal worker, moved out of his condo and back in with Melida to help as her caregiver. “Mr. Waller learned from her that family comes first, which is why he is there.”
Waller is one of a growing number of men who are acting as family caregivers.
“The caregiving landscape is changing. Traditionally, daughters assumed the care of aging parents, but more women are working, and there are too many people 80 years and older to leave care to one gender. Sons are stepping up. About 7.4 million sons are caring for parents, which represents 17% of all caregivers, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving.
“Millennial men, those 18 to 34, are already as likely to be a caregiver—which can mean taking an older relative to a doctor’s appointment, managing their finances or helping them dress—as millennial women, says Amy Goyer, AARP’s family and caregiving expert.”
Being a family caregiver is not easy—and it can be much harder for a son than a daughter. But not for the reasons you might think. To understand this shift in caregiving and why men often face a different set of challenges, head here.
Business is Booming
Career coach and author Nancy Collamer outlines the tremendous job and new-business opportunities rising from the growing caregiving boom.
“And it’s not just home health care jobs that will be plentiful. The aging population will accelerate demand for a wide range of caregiving-related services including meal delivery, estate planning, home remodeling and technology-based solutions.”
Collamer’s piece is much more than career advice—it predicts a wide array of business opportunities based on the real needs of this growing demographic.
“So whether you’re hoping to find a job or become an entrepreneur, this is a market you not only can’t afford to ignore, it’s one that could bring you psychic and financial benefits.”
What I Did For Love
Living With the Parents I’m Losing to Alzheimer’s -The New York Times
Paula Span continues to shed new light on the challenges older Americans and family caregivers face in her must-read column The New Old Age. This week’s story of love and sacrifice is no exception.
“In 2010, Elizabeth Wolf, then 30, was living in Vermont, working for a nonprofit and happily exploring new pursuits, from raising chickens to contra dancing. But after several disturbing phone calls from and about her parents, she moved back into the split-level in Mt. Laurel, N.J., where she and her siblings had grown up, with her now husband, Casey Wolf. She expected to arrange caregiving help for her parents, then return to Vermont.”
Five years later, Wolf and her husband are still there, taking care of her parents who were both diagnosed with Alzheimer’s shortly after Wolf moved back.
While Wolf values the intimacy she now shares with her parents—a closeness not always there when she was a teen, being the primary caregiver for both parents creates an undeniable hardship, even with help from care professionals.
“More than anything, the grief or loss I feel is in the form of loneliness. The isolation. I don’t know how to relate to people my age.”
Hoping for a brief respite, Wolf tried moving her parents into an assisted care facility, but it didn’t feel like home, causing distress and panic for her parents. Wolf decided they would be better back in their own home.
“They’ve been here 40 years,” said Wolf. “All my dad ever wanted was this home. Who am I, if I take my dad from his home?”
Digital artist and photographer Osborne Macharia’s latest project celebrates retired Kenyan corporate and government leaders, capturing them at their dapper best in “Kenya’s League of Extravagant Grannies.” Click on through to see some of the project’s most stylish selects of these fierce, fashionable, and very accomplished women.
Cyber-Seniors Documentary – Official Trailer
Treat yourself to the trailer for this delightfully funny, heart-warming documentary by first-time director Saffron Cassaday. You’ll believe in the power of connecting generations—and so much more. To find information on the film or to request a screening in your community, head here.