Husbands caring for their elderly wives. Gender, generations, and public policies in Catalonia

By Dolors Comas-d’Argemir, Natalia Alonso, Blanca Deusdad


The aim of this paper is to shed light on older-adult husbands as caregivers of their spouses. First, we tackle husbands’ motivations, experiences, and perceptions; Second, we examine the support they receive from informal networking, the use of public and private services, and finally, husbands’ dilemmas when faced with the institutionalization of their spouse. Even though this type of male’s involvement in care is not new, there has been a growing increase in it over recent years, due to changing gender roles and new forms of family intergenerational reciprocity. We found that these husbands have to learn how to carry out domestic and care tasks, and that they rely on a strong family support base. Finally, due to the weaknesses of public policies in Spain, they also have to navigate through a complex puzzle of care services.


  • male caregivers
  • gender
  • care
  • family
  • intergeneration
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