Mobility equipment users are more independent these days than ever. They still do need help with certain tasks and you might be surprised who is giving them that help. Here’s a statistic that may surprise you – almost half of all caregivers to family members or friends who are elderly, disabled or chronically ill are male. What we have come to learn is that men tend to cope with this role differently than women.

According to the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA), there are over 54 million Americans who have provided care for a family member or friend during the past year, some of which use mobility equipment. Despite caregiving often being thought of as a female role, an NFCA survey found that 44% of caregivers are actually men.

What many fail to realize is that caregiving can be a daunting role that requires an enormous amount of time, energy and dedication to the loved one in their care. Studies found that a primary difference between men and women is that men are more likely to delegate some of the caregiving responsibilities to others. Gerontologist John Khajit, a family consultant with the Family Caregiver Alliance, says, “Men tend to approach caregiving a little differently than women, and are more likely to try to problem-solve the situation,” he says. “They seem quicker to hire a home-care worker, to call social workers, and to contact local agencies. I’ve talked with men who want to move things forward, want to take the next step, and who ask what they need to do to handle the immediate problems in front of them.”

Although the stress and hardships of caregiving are undeniable, this important role isn’t without an upside. A study published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, evaluated around 300 caregivers (more than 30% of whom were men). More than 70% said they were happy in the caregiving role, or had positive feelings about at least one aspect of it. “Caregiving is a challenge and a difficult job for both men and women,” says Cohen. “But the people who report finding positive aspects find it a little less challenging.”

This mobility safety update has been brought to you by NMEDA – the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. Do you need information on how to make your vehicle wheelchair accessible or upgraded with the latest and most convenient features? Contact a NMEDA dealer in your local area. Your local NMEDA member is a mobility equipment and accessibility expert!

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