Caregiving Report: The Gender Gap in Caregiving

Posted by Scott, Volunteer Mentor @IndianaScott, Aug 10, 2018

Caregiving Report: The Gender Gap in Caregiving

I continue with a portion of the recent report on caregiving undertaken by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave.

There is a section of this report dealing with the caregiving gender gap and begins with the following:

Working Overtime: Women, Work, and Care

I think every caregiver can relate to the opening quote by a female participant “I love being able to care for my mother-in-law, but it’s hard to balance with my own kids and work. I’m always the one leaving work to take care of others.” The report then points out ‘daughter care’ has been described as the most reliable form of care in America. I add – that’s an incredible burden to put on the females in our society!

The report notes female caregivers spend, on average, approximately 60% more time caregiving for aging loved ones, compared to their male counterparts.

They add to this saying

“And the cost is higher for a woman caregiver who leaves the workforce, an average of 4324,000 is lost in wages and benefits, compared to $284,000 for a man.

“Employed women are likely to become caregivers regardless of salary level, while men who become caregivers tend to be lower wage earners.”

“Women are also three times more likely to retire earlier than expected to become a caregiver.”

“Women caregivers are undervalued, as are all caregivers.”


“…it’s no surprise that ‘daughter care’ has been described as the most reliable form of care in America.”

The researchers then asked non-caregivers “Whose Responsibility is it to Provide Care?” Guess who they think needs to shoulder the caregiving burden? Family of course!

• Over 80% believe it is a spouse’s responsibility to provide hands-on care,
• Over 80% believe it is a spouse’s responsibility to pay the cost of care.
• Over 60% believe it is an adult child’s responsibility to provide hands-on care, and
• Over 50% believe it is an adult child’s responsibility to pay the cost of care.

So non-caregivers firmly place the burden of caregiving on the shoulders of family as the ones who should provide care….I ask them each to give me a call and tell me how they feel when they are called upon to be a caregiver!

Strength, courage, and peace to all caregivers everywhere!

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Caregivers group.

Thanks again, Scott, for your article summary. Non-caregivers have no idea what it's like. My husband and I looked after my mom and dad. This includes the 15 years of watching mom slowly deteriorating in front of us and my siblings not caring. The thought that since I was not working (working part time didn't count) it was OK to put all the burden on Dad and us. Even though I'd had a clipping of an unruptured brain aneurysm and a diagnosis of Fibromuscular Dysplasia. Thank goodness the last four years they finally helped out. They missed out of so much of my parents lives by only visiting once or twice a year. I will always cherish those days. Now, my husband and I have been put in charge of caring for his mother who is 93. No Alzheimer's – so we continue in our roles. She has been like a mother to me for the past 42 years. Why turn my back on her now. We can still play cards, laugh and enjoy ourselves. Thanks for the article and letting me vent!!


Hi @kateia No thanks are necessary! We all, and I do believe ALL, of us need to vent now and again! Good for one's mental health, at least it always helped me. Plus you are spot on about fellow caregiving getting it, but others not so much. When I would vent, even just mildly like 'wow, today was a really hard day' I was told by family members I was seeking attention! So I quit even saying that — only to later be criticized for not sharing! I think few folks get caught in the 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' trap more than caregivers! It's just plain weird to me!

I appreciate your comment on your mohter-in-law, too! My MIL was closer to me and cared more about me than my own mom for many years of my life due to issues created by my siblings, but that part of my life is for a whole different Connect group I imagine! 🙂

I'll get to more of the caregiving report again soon!

Strength, courage, and peace!


It's so hard to understand why her (MIL) own family thinks that just because she's in an assisted living facility that she doesn't need to be visited. They go away for 6 months at a time without seeing her. One lives 30 miles away and hardly visits. She is a living, breathing, human being, and they don't "give a dam". Pardon my french. It makes me cry – knowing that when she is gone that they will wish they did more. Looking forward to hearing more from your "reading". Have a great week.


I agree with you, @kateia It often is difficult for me to understand some folks' actions and reactions to others in times of apparent need. I have pondered if it might be a lack of compassion in some? Perhaps the old 'out of sight out of mind' lifestyle of others? In some I have unfortunately come to believe it's a case of people simply not caring enough to put themselves out for someone else. I recall in the last months of my wife's life a family member called me to say they would be driving close to our home and would like to see 'us' if I would drive out to the coffeeshop by the freeway entrance. They knew full well my wife was bed-bound and I couldn't leave her at that point, which I explained. But they wouldn't drive the 6 miles from the freeway exit to our home! 14 years of my wife's war and they came to our home only one time — because my mother was visiting and they wanted to show her they cared. Sheesh…

I still wonder about this as one of the great unknowns in our lives.

Strength, courage, and peace!


I was the primary caregiver to my son. I quit my job when he was in seventh grade because there are no after school programs after 6th grade. My husband kept working because we had to eat. But there really was never any question that I would be taking care of our son. I also went to all the meetings at school and social services. I also have been driving our son to Mayo Clinic. I'm the mom.

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