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Is it harder for men to cope?


Registered User
Aug 24, 2013
This comes from Curlysandy's topic "Dad is desperate". My question is... Is it harder for a man to cope than for a woman when a partner becomes dependant on you.
In years gone by men had no household skills, cooking, washing, ironing, shopping etc and to be honest a lot still don't, when a man becomes dependant on a woman the women have all the life skills to cope, many older men simply don't have the these.
As a man I find the NHS difficult to deal with the institutional sexism is beyond belief and that doesn't help but that aside is it harder for a man to cope?


Registered User
Jan 14, 2010
East Kent
Hello K
Good question
To be honest I think it is swings and roundabouts

Ok I admit it can be hard when some men are faced with cooking or the intricacies of the washing machine , iron ect for the very first time

Some women looking after their Husbands, whose husband undertook all the , shall I say manly tasks :D , have similar problems when for the first time they have to do things their menfolk did

But we can all learn how to

Me ,I am one of the lucky ones, growing up in the fifties I had very enlightened parents for the time!, helping mum cook and clean and helping My dad mend, make things and decorate, though I do think I slowed him down a lot :D
at 7yrs old I was a dab hand at mixing up a bit of cement and doing a nice roast dinner, not both at the same time LOL

What I find hard to deal with in NHS hospitals, is the Geriatricians both my parents have had the misfortune to be under at one time or another, Just because they had reached/were over the golden age of 70 it is hospital policy not because that was the best consultant for their problems.
I had better stop now :)
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Registered User
Apr 9, 2012

Kevin, I'd be interested to know more about the institutional sexism you talk about in the Nhs or elsewhere.

I certainly experience sexism from the public when out with mum - they assume I'm not her carer, or am incompetent, because I'm a man. Worst are middle age women. I find youngsters less of a problem - probably because they see age more than gender. They're not surprised that mum is confused - they think all old people are like that. A teenager in the street is far more likely to make way for us than a middle aged person.

The biggest difference though is between people who have personal experience of dementia and those who don't. Of those who do, the most common mistake is to assume every person with dementia is like their relative, while really everyone is different.

What have others found?


Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
Not exactly the same thing but I find disabled loos can be a problem. More and more I'm finding the disabled access loos are within the gents and the ladies toilets. This means that if I have my husband in a wheelchair I have to take him into the ladies to access the disabled access loo (or i have to be brave and go into the gents). He is in hospital just now and I noticed that the visitors' loos have this arrangement. I know our local railway station was refurbished and they now have thus arrangement in the loos. I wrote and complained to the station managers. I got a £5 voucher (wow!) and was told that if I need to use the loos in future I should alert a member of staff and they will clear the gents so I can take him in! I'm sure male carers must find this a difficult problem too when out with a mother or wife.


Registered User
Feb 4, 2011
It's a great question. The assumption that either it's a woman's job or that somehow, women can cope better than men is pretty widespread, I think.

It would be great if the non-joined up thinking that Izzy just mentioned could be rectified because it's so easy to do before the fact.

And it would be great to hear more from men who are caring and coping and how they manage. In my family, my husband struggles emotionally all the time with his mother (though can manage all the practical care, including personal hygiene needs if I'm not there); my brother walked away and the assumption was that it was somehow my "job" to care for Mum, and it was assumed that I would stop work to do so. Yet when I was writing a blog about Mum and our "journey", I heard from some wonderful men, many quite young, who were caring for their partners and mothers in a fantastic, hands-on way, and who gave me lots of really useful tips.

One man's Mum loved getting her hair done and "beauty" days which became harder to organise and impossible for him to do - so he took her from time to time, to a department store (having spoken to them earlier) and asked them to give her a make-over. He sat with her the whole time, so she got double lots of attention and affection!

I know that only scratches a tiny surface of the care that we all give - and that there are much weightier issues to address - but it was lovely how this particular son thought so caringly about just a detail but one that made a big difference to making his Mum happy at that particular stage of her dementia. I thought it was a brilliant idea. Mum, by then, was past that stage, but I wished I'd thought of it!


Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
North Manchester
I also used to have the which loo problem.

I used the ladies and if challenged used to say that my wife needed the toilet and as she could not managed by herself I was assisting her. I also said that if my presence disturbed them they should join me in my complaint to management.


Registered User
Dec 10, 2009
It depends on how one was raised

Each have different attributes. Most women are raised as carers to do the washing, ironing and housework etc. They then go on to have children and have to learn how to feed, wash and change nappies and thus have partly learned to care in later life when it comes to Dementia.
One area they may find problems, is when it comes to lifting a wheelchair bound partner in and out of a car. Some men are capable of performing all house hold chores, in addition to cooking. Unfortunately by the time AD enters our lives few men and women are not physically and mentally fit enough to cope, especially in the late and end stage.
As someone who never had parents, a home, or an adult to turn to from infancy, there was little option but to learn life's skills on my own. At the age of sixteen I was released into the outside world for the first time, and now at 82 I'm still learning.
There was much to be learned from a stolen childhood. It made me appreciate all the more the meaning of love. So when it came to caring for my wife I was both mentally and physically capable of providing the best one to one care, in our own home, all the way to the end. Why should I have shared the privilege of caring with a complete stranger or a member of the family? She was MY wife.
By doing things my way, I learned a vast amount about my wife's Alzheimer's and I'm more than pleased that I ignored the advice of the 'experts' especially in the end stage.
Hope I have not brought this thread to a close, but I promise to stop posting.


Registered User
Oct 3, 2011
I am in my late 60's and have been supporting initially, and then caring for, my wife over the 8yrs since her diagnosis (Alz/VaD). Perhaps I am fortunate in that I was brought up by parents who could both prepare meals and showed me how to do so. It helped in that I was interested in most things and would therefor readily take up a challenge to learn something new. Going shopping with my wife, be it for food, clothing, or whatever, was never a problem for me as I enjoyed our being out together and could always find a reason to look for something for myself! Had I not had the early parent teaching and interest to learn, I would no doubt have struggled more with what life threw at us 8yrs ago. I have always believed that marriage was a partnership where sharing was integral within such a relationship and so again was always ready to lend a hand if need be. However, I suspect that perhaps a lot of men are quite happy to let their OH just get on with 'looking after them' (or is it laziness?), and who knows, perhaps the OH is content to rule in her domain! Having said all that, I do believe that when push comes to shove, we men can cope pretty well and I site one example. An uncle who had been fortunate to have his meals prepared, beds made, etc., for him by his mother until very late into his life, never had a relationship with anyone, was truly a homing pigeon, and despite many saying he would never cope on his own, did so successfully for many years following the passing of his mother. Maybe my good fortune in in my genes?
I have probably given some food for thought here, of maybe stirred a hornets nest!! My best wishes to everyone trying to survive lifes ups and downs.