Caring for the Opposite Sex: Dealing with Intimacy Challenges

Caring for the Opposite Sex: Dealing with Intimacy Challenges
In the United States, 2.1 million men age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease. With Father's Day approaching, we recognize that these numbers represent many dads, though fewer men than women have the disease.

Caregiving isn’t gender-specific.

Among Americans age 71 and older, 16 percent of women and 11 percent of men have Alzheimer’s or other dementias. However, as women outlive men on average, it follows that many daughters, wives, and mothers provide care for their ailing fathers, sons, and husbands. And, of course, with almost 6 million people living with the disease in the U.S., many men are also providing care to loved ones.

Caring for the opposite sex

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease comes with many challenges. Eventually, your loved one will need help with every task, and the intimate details won’t be spared. The personal nature of caregiving presents an additional difficulty when taking care of a loved one of the opposite sex. Daughters caring for dads and sons caring for moms face issues of preserving dignity while performing necessary, but intimate tasks. How can they do both? Changing paper underwear, helping a parent to get ready for bed, and tending to bathroom matters are some of the tasks that push caregivers out of their comfort zone. The choice for caregivers is simple: We’d rather overcome timidity in favor of providing care for Dad or Mom. Sons employ methods that limit their moms’ embarrassment, and daughters do the same for
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