Older men continue to access home care services far less than women.
New data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that older women are much more likely to use home care services compared to men, making up 2 out of 3 consumers. The same report also reveals that women are also the predominant users of home care services across all package levels and ages. This gender gap is also true in residential aged and elderly services in SA and Adelaide.
Advocates for men’s health encourage care providers to address the barriers older men experience in using assisted services. In June, Community Care Review reported on low use of aged care services among men and the need to revisit service strategies to reach them out.
But why do older men are generally disinterested in seeking help? Read on to find out.
Five Reasons Why Older Men Resist Adelaide Aged Care Services
Exploring certain obstacles that older men experience in accessing aged care services will help you understand the gender gap. Accessing elderly care services is vital in living longer and living better, which is recommended for all regardless of gender.
Adelaide Aged Care Financial Advisers delve into the top reasons why older men refuse aged care services.
1. “Home care is too feminine.”
Older men usually value outdoor activities more than the idea of relaxing at home. This generation of men consider home care services as a domain of women, so they think that if they avail of such service, they will become less manly. This misconception could be loosely attributed to the imagery and language used by care providers in their promotional materials, where the pictures used are mostly of older women. Hence, older men think the services are not for them, particularly at community services that are often framed around activities that in the past were completely associated with women such as domestic care and chatting with friends over tea.
2. “I don’t want to rely on charity.”
Relying on charity is a taboo for most blokes instilled during their childhood. Even though aged care system is a component program of the Department of Social Services to help senior Adelaide citizens, some elderly think of it as charitable work and most men are simply not into it.
3. I’m not weak. I can live without help.”
Most aged care providers in Adelaide promote their services to assist the elderly to maintain their independence at home. But older men see this as a flawed proposition. They often ask, “how could I be independent, if I would ask help?” This contradiction is at the core of most care providers, because they are talking about the values of independence, yet they are highlighting assisted care. Even in advertisements, brochures, and catalogues, most men are depicted as weak recipients of care. This is a common barrier for older men, who likes to think that they are strong and assisted service is not relevant for them.
4. “I don’t want to be a burden to anyone.”
The older generation of men value their self-reliance and independence. Many of them worked for decades to provide and take care of their wives and children. And now that they are retired, most of them feel depressed thinking that as they age, they will become a burden to their families. Much as they don’t want help from their family or friends, they also resist domestic assistance even from professional carers. It’s often difficult for men to keep their sense of dignity when they need help in bathing or getting dressed.
5. “I wasn’t aware of Adelaide aged care services available for me.”
There are cases that older men were not able to seek aged care services because they were simply not aware of the available services for them. This is fairly common for older men with different social, educational, and linguistic background.
How to Bridge the Gender Gap
Encouraging older men to access elderly care services in South Australia takes a concerted effort of all stakeholders – the Australian government, the care providers, the families, and of course the beneficiaries.
Probably, you have been reading this because you are thinking of availing aged care services, yet you are experiencing some barriers described above. It’s perfectly fine to take hold of your old values. Your family and friends, in fact, admire you for that. But seeking help will not make you less manly, but will help you enjoy your life after working hard for years. With aged care system, you can avoid the stress and difficulties of retirement, and enjoy your senior years.
Families and friends should always encourage their loved ones to access these services. They can assist them in learning more about aged care services in Adelaide, and help them choose the most suitable type of service for them.
For its part, the Government of Australia has already rolled out the Consumer Directed Care (CDC) as basis for care providers in delivering their services. With the CDC, you can have more say to the structure and manner of the services you receive. In theory, this initiative can improve the uptake of services among older men, but of course it will still depend on how the system is actually implemented. (Also read our in-depth blog post about CDC)
Meanwhile, the official website of Australia’s Aged Care System can be accessed in other languages including Arabic, German, Italian, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, and many more. It also coordinates with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection for Translating and Interpreting Service.
Aside from complying with the principles of CDC, care providers must also be innovative in their language and imagery to increase the perceived relevancy of the services among older men. They should also offer services that are suitable for men and will not compromise their value for independence and self-reliance.
If you think you need help in understanding how your aged service is funded and how to manage your funds, please feel free to contact Adelaide Age Care Financial Advisers on 1300 422 232 for a confidential chat.