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Video: Men Take Care Of Their Partners During Illness No Worse Than Women
Men take care of their partners during illness no worse than women
Men and women equally provide assistance to their other half with illness and, accordingly, provide a similar level of patient care in old age, scientists say.
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According to a study published in The Journals of Gerontology, series B, older men treat their partners in the same way that women do when they are sick. As a result, they take better care of their sick wife in old age than previously thought. The study goes against previous research in which women caregivers provided more care than men.
Using data from a German socioeconomic panel study, researchers from Oxford University and the University of Pennsylvania analyzed 538 couples (average age 69) where one spouse needed help between 2001 and 2015. …
They looked at how participants managed their time to assist their partner when they needed care and attention, either directly or in the form of errands and household chores.
The results show that both women and men have increased their care time, providing a similar level of time during partner illness. Thus, when one of the spouses was seriously ill, there was no difference in the level of care provided.
The researchers were surprised that when a spouse is seriously ill, men increase the time spent on housework and doing errands more than women. However, when the need for care is low (when one of the partners is mildly unwell), women devote more time to household chores and errands than men, i.e., the distribution of roles in the family remains the same as before the onset of the disease.
In addition, significant differences in levels of care were found among couples where one spouse only informally “needed care,” without medical confirmation. But in situations of complete absence of outside help, the partner, regardless of gender, strengthened the care for his other half.
Dr. Laura Langner, Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, said: “Our results show that gender differences in marital care in old age are not as pronounced as previously thought. Past research has had numerous limitations that we could overcome with our data. We found that, unlike many previous studies of later life caregivers, male caregivers were as susceptible to the onset of their partner's illness as female caregivers. This is in stark contrast to the separation of care (such as childcare) and midlife domestic work. There are a number of possible reasons, but the key factor may bethat at a later age, many people retire and are no longer responsible for work, so they can focus on other priorities."