Shattering stereotypes as a male caregiver in a female-dominated industry, Vincent’s caregiving journey began in 2009 when his father was diagnosed with lung failure. Juggling the responsibilities of a filial son, caring husband and loving father of two young children left Vincent barely any time for respite. However, he never gave up and discovered a love for caregiving, inspiring him to become a Homage Care Pro.
In line with the spirit of honouring and giving back to the Dads in our lives, we have Vincent – an individual who has shown his act of honour by diligently caring for his Dad while being a father and husband all at the same time.
“Being a good father isn’t about being a breadwinner, or about food, clothes, or a place to live. Being a good father is simply about being with your family when they need you most.” Vincent has indeed lived this out.
Caregiving stereotypes usually consist of female roles and little light is often shone on male caregivers in our community. Men like Vincent are shattering the boundaries of what is traditionally expected from males and sons. In fact, he has gone the extra mile to give care to others in the community too. His story, seemingly typical, highlights the growing number of men caring for loved their ones and the need for increased support for male caregivers.
One man’s journey
Vincent was the caregiver for his father. Back in 2009, his father was diagnosed with lung failure caused by asthma. His health deteriorated with each passing day as he began to lose the ability to manage basic daily living activities on his own.
Looking after a senior is certainly not an easy task. The overwhelming stress sometimes causes one to search for alternatives such as long term care institutions. Vincent made the choice of not going down that path and it is one to be respected.
Still handling a full-time job as a sales executive then, caregiving proved to be a challenging experience. Many of us enjoy the luxury of having downtime after work to unwind and relax. However, it was not so for Vincent. His time before and after work was dedicated to looking after his father and not forgetting, his two young children.
A son, father and husband all at the same time, Vincent had to divide his time and attention sparingly. He admits that the initial stages of caregiving were “frustrating and tiring”. Surely many caregivers alike who balance multiple hats can relate with him. Constantly attending to his loved ones, he had little time to himself and struggled with fatigue. However, Vincent truly had the heart of a filial son. He motivated and pushed himself to accept and understand his father’s plight. Giving up never once crossed his mind.
Grow through what you go through
It was a gradual and painful process of watching his father’s health worsening day by day as he required more help over time. Vincent’s father used to be a lively, active man who could go about his life independently. Enjoying an afternoon tea at the nearby coffee shop was his favourite past time. During festive occasions like Chinese New Year, Vincent and his Dad would walk down the streets of Chinatown to grab some last minute goodies. Those were the memories he treasured most.
Things have changed though, ever since the onset of lung failure. His dad became a quiet and reserved man, a far cry from the robust man he once was.
Vincent pushed on despite the trying times, emerging to be more patient through his experience looking after his Dad. To be able to put yourself in the shoes of someone else and understand the pain of losing the ability to manage simple activities is not easy but Vincent handled it admirably.
A father, son, husband and now friend to many seniors
The joy he derived from caregiving inspired him to be a Care Professional. He sought to bring laughter and comfort to those under his care. The patience he grew to possess was translated to his job as a caregiver. On his first few care visits, Vincent found it challenging to fully connect with the seniors. However, with time and a genuine love for caring for the elderly, he was able to get the seniors to open up and break down communication barriers.
Caring for others brings meaning to his career and he feels a huge sense of accomplishment when he is able to provide for the needs of those under his care. “Rewarding” is what Vincent would sum up his encounters as a Care Professional in one word.
Caregiving as a profession is known to be part of a female dominated industry. There are often questions as to whether one would face judgement for choosing a career in caregiving, especially for male caregivers. As for Vincent, his family members were fully supportive of his decision and cheered him on, agreeing that caregiving is an admirable and meaningful job.
The Care Pro journey has been immensely fulfilling to him. He hopes that it will be the same for other care professionals and family caregivers. Vincent ends with a note of encouragement that we can all take heart: ‘They took care of us since young, now it’s finally time for us to repay their kindness. Understand and accept them always.’
To all fathers who are caregivers in their own ways, Vincent and all of us at Homage would also like to give a big shout out to you. Remember to take good care of yourselves while being on Dad duty!