Are you experiencing life as a caregiver?
Are you a male caregiver? Do you see yourself in this role? Is this your reality?
Let’s get beyond the myths right away. There are many male caregivers; in 2018, men represented 42% of all caregivers in Quebec.
They are sometimes father caregivers, sometimes young caregivers. They are also caregivers for their spouse with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Although the cases may vary, the reality experienced by these men is often the same: difficulties, suffering, stress, sadness, fear of stigmatization and a complex daily life.
Faced with this reality, we see one observation: men who are caregivers make less use of the services and resources available to them. However, for men and fathers who are caregivers, there are practical solutions and tools available that correspond to their needs.
Bertrand Lacour, caregiver to his mother dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and who is now deceased
“I never let myself get depressed. One of my strengths is being a team player. I have always created a support network around me. I was never alone with Mom.”
Jean-Sébastien Girard is a caregiver for his mother
“We’re separated by a common wall. When she sneezes, I can say ‘bless you’ through the wall. People often say she’s lucky to have me as a neighbour, but I’m lucky too. While it carries responsibility, it also gives me some peace of mind. I like knowing that I am there if she ever needs anything.”
Marc-Antoine Forand is a father and caregiver to his son Noah, who has Down Syndrome
“I am a good dad when I have had a moment to myself, when I do something for myself, when I have a few moments of joy. Being a good dad… It’s a difficult question… I do the best I can.”
These testimonies demonstrate the variety of experiences of caregivers. What difficulties, responsibilities, challenges or joys do you have in common with these men, these fathers, these lovebirds? As a man, do you recognize yourself as a caregiver? What would your personal story be?
Sharing knowledge and experience
My wife and I have been together for 35 years. She has Alzheimer’s disease and I take care of her…
It is possible that your spouse’s illness will require you to perform tasks that you did not do before, or did not do much of, such as managing the finances or grocery shopping. There are tools available to help you achieve independence in your role as a caregiver. Also, even if you are grieving and have already experienced ambiguous loss and grief because of the illness, you are sweethearts and you are a couple. Why not plan moments just for the two of you, for example, by listening to songs together that you enjoy?
I have a meeting with a counselor next week. How do I prepare?
Make the most of this first meeting! List your skills, your difficulties and the solutions you need in the short term, quickly and concretely, to continue providing support to the person you are caring for. Plan other meetings with the counselor to ask your questions progressively according to how your circumstances, your health and well-being and the condition of the other person evolve; the counselor will refer you to practical resources when you need them and will assist you with various steps if you wish.
I don’t see myself as a caregiver at all! What is involved for me and for my physically disabled daughter?
You are by no means the only one to have this reaction and it is up to you. In any case, you are not alone in this situation as a man and/or father who is a caregiver. There are practical, concrete resources adapted to your needs: administrative and fiscal resources, respite, home care support, transportation, information and documentation. The province of Quebec recognizes your contribution; recognizing yourself as a caregiver is opening a door to support and joining the community of the many facets of caregiving, beyond the myths.
We sometimes hear that men are reluctant to express their difficulties and emotions, but this is not my case at all! On the contrary, I want psychological help but I can’t seem to find it! Do you have a good plan?
I feel like I’m constantly having to juggle two realities. Is this normal?
Caregiving is a set of connections to be made, whether you are a man or a woman; combining work and care for the person close to you, suffering and the need to “be there,” parenthood and caregiving, concern for the person you are caring for and concern for yourself. There are certain specificities among male caregivers: the desire to keep our caregiving discreet, combined with the need to turn to others from time to time, or the desire to keep our troubles to ourselves, combined with the need to express them in order to access support services.
Youtube channel of NousTV. Les proches aidants au masculin.
Gouvernement du Québec. Politique nationale pour les personnes proches aidantes.
Gouvernement du Québec. Plan d'action gouvernemental pour les personnes proches aidantes 2021-2026.
L'Appui pour les proches aidants. Caregiver-lovers on the scenic routes.
L'Appui pour les proches aidants. Things often take an informal turn when it comes to caregiver fathers…
Le Devoir. Les nouveaux visages des proches aidants.
Regroupement provincial en santé et bien-être des hommes. La contribution des hommes au Québec comme proches aidants : un enjeu d’avenir.
Spiritualitésanté. La proche aidance au masculin | un enjeu pour le réseau des services.
Vitalité – Laboratoire de recherche sur la santé (UQAM). Men's toolbox.
Need to talk?
Contact our Caregiver Support Helpline for counselling, information et referrals.
Every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Free of charge.