There are nearly 16 million American men who are unpaid caregivers to their parents, spouses, partners and other adult loved ones, according the American Association of Retired Persons. Of that number, nearly 11 percent identify as gay, bisexual or transgender.
Unfortunately, there is hardly any recognition of the nearly two million GBT caregivers living in America, which is why the Ad Council and AARP are joining forces on a PSA campaign designed to address the largely unrecognized population of male caregivers — a first of its kind.
The PSA, featuring actor Danny Trejo (Machete, From Dusk till Dawn, Breaking Bad), challenges gender norms around caregiving, emphasizing the “toughness” it takes to be a caregiver.
The campaign gives viewers new information about the experiences male caregivers, including the fact that a typical family caregiver spends $6,954 each year on out-of-pocket costs related to caregiving (nearly 20 percent of their income). Additionally, male caregivers taking care of a spouse or partner provide more hours of care, and are more likely to be primary caregivers, compared to other male family caregivers.
Over half (54 percent) of male family caregivers perform medical and nursing tasks, such as injections, tube feedings and wound care. Much of these men say they feel unprepared for these kinds of tasks.
It’s time to start recognizing the incredible strength it takes to be a caregiver. As the population ages and family size shrinks, caregivers are becoming a larger and more diverse group, suggesting that the number of caregivers — including gay caregivers — will only increase.