We Need More Males in Home Care, Here’s Why

A 2017 study shows the percentage of males in home care is just 13%. Solid statistics representing all home care workers can be difficult to come by, as many studies include only certified home health agencies or full-time employees. However, all studies have shown similar proportions. And, most people running home care agencies can tell you males in home care are few and far between.

Home Care Growth

Meanwhile, home care demand continues to grow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 1.3 million additional jobs within homecare will be added through 2020. In fact, they report that those working in home health positions will see a 69% growth through 2020. Additionally, those in personal care aide positions will see a 70% growth.

What is driving the growth of the home care industry?

  • Need: an aging population and increasing numbers of people managing chronic illness and disability
  • Affordability/cost savings: home care can be a more affordable care option personally. And, insurers and government agencies are increasingly shifting spending to it as well due to cost savings. Home care can prevent expensive hospital admissions and more costly levels of care.
  • Flexibility/preferences: most people wish to age in place. They also tend to have different needs over time and may use home care at different points, for different services, and in different amounts. For these reasons combined with costs, home care is growing at a much faster rate than institutional care.

This is especially relevant in the devastated employment market we face right now due to the pandemic. Home care and healthcare face challenges also, but continue to show high demand and even growth into new areas like telehealth. Although we don’t have any statistics or a clear idea of long-term impact, we know many families moved loved ones out of care facilities during the pandemic in favor of care at home also.

How does this relate to the need for (and benefits for) males in home care?

First, home care represents a strong employment opportunity. Right now, many people have been laid off or furloughed. And, many are considering new careers. Or, they will have no choice if they’ve been in a heavily impacted industry like tourism or events. Many people are rethinking priorities and career and personal directions. If a person has an interest in home care and desire to help take care of elders, the barriers to entry aren’t huge. Some non-medical positions can be done with little training or requirements. 

However, we think this can be a weak point too. As a sidebar to families, please understand the difference and protections you get when hiring different types of home care agencies (also, versus hiring someone privately). And, find out how the specific agency handles training, continuing education, and supervision.

Read about what caregivers need to be successful. You can also learn more about EasyLiving’s mission and how we focus on workforce development.

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Regardless, the training and certification process in most cases can be done relatively quickly. So, this is a career that someone can transition into and typically find work without much difficulty.

Additionally, home care offers highly flexible employment. Clients need care around-the-clock, so caregivers can work all different shifts. They can choose to work a day or two and possibly combine it with other jobs. A caregiver may offer availability around the times they need to take care of their kids or coordinate with a partner’s job. We also often find caregivers working while continuing their education. Many of our caregivers are pursuing careers in nursing, healthcare, social work, and more.

As far as the demand side, home care simply needs more quality workforce. We need diverse caregivers with different backgrounds, personalities, availability, etc. Seeing more males in home care means we have a fuller breadth of caregivers to address the range of client needs. A certain male caregiver may connect more with a particular client. He may be able to better meet one family’s needs. Or, he may have the personality to deal with a person with dementia who acts out a lot. By only having males in home care in such small numbers, we miss out on the potential talents and contributions of a large chunk of the population.

Changing Roles: Will We Really See More Males in Home Care?

Despite the strong opportunity, a 2017 study found people were generally uncomfortable with the idea of males in home care. Fortunately, there are signs this is changing, though perhaps not fast enough to meet the demand in the industry. As cited in the article, one training center said only 20% of home care students were male but this represented double what it had been 15 years prior. Perhaps the pandemic will further push people to reconsider career options and where their strengths can be best used, instead of making gender-based assumptions.

More and more males are taking on family caregiver roles. Families are handling childcare, work, and household duties in ways that work best for them versus based on stereotypes. The pandemic factors into this as well, with families having to get creative to manage new school and work situations.

We tackled this subject a while back on our blog, sharing some of the misconceptions as well as stories of successful males in home care. Hopefully, a 2020 study would show developing attitudes and openness to males in home care. We are always thrilled to see more people find meaning in the work they do and home care is one of the most fulfilling jobs you’ll ever do.

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