They are more likely to use paid assistance for their loved ones’ personal care. They tend to travel farther or spend more time organizing care from a distance, and they are more hesitant to let a boss or co-worker know about their role as a caregiver, according to the AARP.
In fact, men feel challenged by the perception that their need for time off or flexibility to care for Dad will be seen as a lack of commitment to their job.
“We try to get male caregivers to understand they have taken on a new job role,“ Barg said. “They have become CEO of Caring for My Loved One Inc., and that takes a time commitment.“
Sons often find their new role is an emotional and logistical roller coaster. Carlos Ramirez, a Miami health care consultant, has been caring for his 80-year-old father since his sister recently died from breast cancer. His father, who suffers from diabetes, now relies on Ramirez to make medical decisions that recently included the amputation of a toe. “On a typical week, I’ll make him appointments, go with him on appointments and follow up with doctors.“
Ramirez often needs to exercise the flexibility his career as a consultant provides. “Some specialists only see patients certain days of the week or do procedures certain days.“ He finds himself in an ongoing tussle over how much of his father’s care he can personally take on.
Experts say getting ahead of an aging father’s needs makes the balancing act easier - but often doesn’t happen. Men are more likely to ignore the mental or physical decline and believe a father who says he’s fine - until it reaches a crisis, said Amy Seigel, director of Advocare Care Management in South Florida. “When a father says he’s fine, a son goes back to his childhood and he is still that guy’s son.“
Cindy Krischer Goodman is CEO of BalanceGal LLC, a provider of news and advice on how to balance work and life. She can be reached at balancegalgmail.com. Read her columns and blog at http://worklifebalancingact.com/.