According to Jean Accius of AARP, these once invisible men are starting to “come out” publicly. Dr. Accius has written: “They are husbands taking care of their spouses or partners, sons taking care of Mom or Dad, friends taking care of neighbors. These men are breaking stereotypes and upending misconceptions. They are joining, either by choice or necessity, the army of family caregivers providing care across this country.”
One such man, Louis Colbert, is a social worker who has been working in the field of aging for 40 years. He runs a monthly group for caregivers at his large African-American church in Philadelphia. And yet, it took about a year and a half of providing care for his own mother until he realized he was actually a “caregiver.”
So many of the services we used to go to a doctor’s office or hospital for, such as wound care, are now done in the home by untrained family caregivers. As documented in a groundbreaking report first published in 2012 and updated this year, 72 percent of male family caregivers who performed complex medical tasks indicated that no one had prepared them to do so.
Mr. Riordan urges employers to make sure that male care workers are featured on their websites and in any promotional materials. As Marian Wright Edelman, the children’s rights advocate, said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.”
Mr. Colbert has noticed that in his own community, formerly incarcerated men are starting to go into direct care work more frequently. “They come out and they take care of a grandmother or grandfather who needs help, and then they end up realizing that they can use those skills to be a contributing member of their families,” he said.
Becoming a healthcare assistant (HCA) was a straightforward process. It consisted of several seminars, a half-day course in moving and handling and...