How do we care for male caregivers?

Or more specifically, “How do male caregivers of spouses with dementia in rural southern and central Alberta come to understand their role as a caregiver?” It’s a question graduate student and registered nurse Ryan Waldorf (BN ’06) is investigating, and what he’s discovering, is concerning. “Over and over again, I am hearing from male caregivers that they feel they are invisible and the care they provide doesn’t matter,” he says. “What’s more, they say resources are thrust upon them, but the resources are not what they need or are comfortable with. What they are really looking for is to learn how to cope with their wives’ changing personality and emotions, and her personal care. ”Ryan is taking his findings to community care nurses so they can use the information to tailor support for male caregivers. For Ryan, this will be a rewarding conclusion
to his master’s program – which he believed was “out of his reach” as an undergraduate student. “It was my professors’ support – specifically that of my supervisor – that gave me the encouragement to pursue a graduate program,” he says. “As well, I have received a number of scholarships that have enabled me to further my education, while balancing family life and a career. Without the support I received, I would not be here.”

"I want to take my research to rural communities and inform community care nurses so they have a better sense of the struggles that male caregivers face. Hopefully, they can use this information to tailor support for male caregivers that they will encounter."

Ryan Waldorf (BN '06)
Master of Science (Nursing) student