ERIC Number: ED230849
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Elderly Men as Caretakers of Wives.
Because the life expectancy of women is longer than that of men and because men seem to marry younger women, most of the literature on caregivers of the elderly has focusd on women who care for elderly, disabled husbands. In order to explore the role of men as caretakers of disabled wives, 25 elderly widowers (aged 63-93) participated in interviews designed to elicit recollections of the time they spent caring for elderly or disabled wives. Data analyses indicated that 12 of the 15 husbands whose wives were disabled before death had the primary responsibility for caregiving. Several husbands became ill while nursing their wives and almost half claimed that they had become ill or that a chronic condition had worsened in the first year of widowhood. Men who had nursed their wives were less likely to consider remarriage. The caretaker role among elderly men appears to provide anticipatory socialization to widowhood as men learn to cook and clean house during the time of the spouse's illness. Because of the small sample, this study was intended to be suggestive rather than definitive. Further research could be directed toward elucidating household and marital roles of elderly men, roles of other family members in caring for a disabled relative, and needed support services for men who are caregivers. (AG)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society (35th, Boston, MA, November 19-23, 1982).