The conversations of life

Did you know there are more male carers than female over the age of 65?

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Men over 65 are also more likely to be caring for a partner with dementia than women of the same age.

In total, there are around 341,000 male carers across Australia – 30 per cent of all carers.

Yet carer support services are traditionally geared toward women. Why?

Some programs fail to understand the needs of male carers, according to Kevin Zahra, Director of Client Services at the Northside Community Forum in Sydney. Others assume their numbers are lower than female carers.

It’s no surprise then to find out that these services have also struggled to attract men to their programs.

The “forgotten” carers

Kevin Zahra, Director of Client Services at the Northside Community Forum
Kevin Zahra, Director of Client Services at the Northside Community Forum

Mr Zahra tells us this is because most men have had no experience of being in a carer role.

“Men see themselves as a breadwinner more than a carer,” he says. “In some cases, male carers feel that if they seek help it is a sign of weakness. Furthermore, they like to be in control and being a carer impacts on that control.”

But there are services for male carers available. Northside provides respite, education and advice, social events and activities such as fishing, walking and more.

They also host retreats where men can take time away to talk about the issues they deal with and relax with people that they don’t have to explain themselves to.

It’s a great idea. We men need to get rid of this idea that caring is a women’s role – and put up our hand for help when we need it.

Find out more by visiting yournorthside.org.au.

Christopher Baynes

Chris Baynes is a columnist and publisher of Frank & Earnest. He is also the publisher of Villages.com.au, the leading national directory of retirement villages and aged care services in Australia.


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