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In case you missed it, the New York Times ran a feature about men who care for their elderly parents. Nearly 40 percent of men are their family's primary care provider up from 19 percent in 1996, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

""It used to be that when men said, ‘I’ll always take care of my mother,’ it meant, ‘My wife will always take care of my mother,’ ” said Carol Levine, director of the families and health care project at the United Hospital Fund. “But now, more and more men are doing it.”

Often they are overshadowed by their female counterparts and faced with employers, friends, support organizations and sometimes even parents who view caregiving as an essentially female role. Male caregivers are more likely to say they feel unprepared for the role and become socially isolated, and less likely to ask for help.

Women still provide the bulk of family care, especially intimate tasks like bathing and dressing. At support groups, which are predominantly made up of women, many women complain that their brothers are treated like heroes just for showing up.

But with smaller families and more women working full-time, many men have no choice but to take on roles that would have been alien to their fathers. Just as fatherhood became more hands-on in the baby boom generation, so has the role for many sons as their generation’s parents age."

Many male caregivers are shocked by the isolation of providing their parent with full-time care. But unlike women, they are less likely to have friends outside of work and seek support when they need it. They are also looked upon strangely for tasks like bathing their mothers.

With the aging of the baby boomers, this can only become more common. I think it will have an impact on the workforce, which is a good thing for both men and women. What do you think?


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