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Abstracts, Journal issues, NORMA 3.1

It feels like a defoliation: Older men’s notions of informal support as primary caregivers

Henrik Eriksson, Keith Pringle & Jonas Sandberg

Little interest has been given to painting a broader picture of men’s relation to caring and care giving activities and when it has, it has often tended to uphold stereotypic notions regarding men’s attitudes to caring activities. This article explores older men’s account of becoming and being primary caregivers as a result of unexpected life events. By interviewing eleven older men in three focus group sessions questions about masculinity and the cultural understanding about being older men in relation to caregiving and support was approached. In our result we describe the caregiving men’s social and personal changes as a consequences of caregiving as a defoliation process where the difficulty in upholding relationships with unconventional men and the caregiving men’s difficulty in upholding relations with people, who embrace hegemonic ideals about masculinity, is framing their lives as caregiving men.

From this position caregiving men reach out and connect with other men who share the same experiences. We suggest that in the network of men who are, and is about to become, primary caregivers, the principle of “paying it forward” seems to be understood as the most valued support. Paying it forward help the men to uphold their caring experience as valuable and gives the men a position as skilled.

Keywords
Older men, caregiving, support, reciprocity, relationships, understanding

NORMA: Nordic Journal for Masculinity Studies 3(1), 48-61

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