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Celebrating Unsung African American Male Caregivers on Father's Day

Contributor: Timothy Woods

Father's Day is a time to celebrate the men who have shaped our lives with their strength, wisdom, and love. This year, we shine a spotlight on a special group of fathers and father figures—African American male caregivers who are tirelessly caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Their stories of dedication and resilience deserve recognition and honor.

Timothy (Tim) Woods began his day long before the sun rose while being a caregiver for his dad Ernest A. Woods, Sr. who was diagnosed with dementia.  As a husband, brother, father to twin boys and the primary caregiver for his elderly father. Tim’s life was a constant juggling act. "It was tough, but it’s what you do for family," he says with a resolute smile in his voice.

Tim’s journey into caregiving began seven years ago in 2017 when his father was diagnosed with dementia until his passing in 2021 at the age of 88. Once a lively and independent man, started showing signs of memory loss, agitation and confusion. "It was heartbreaking to see the changes," Tim recalls. "But I knew I had to step up and take care of him."

For Tim, a typical day involves assisting with dressing him, managing medications, and ensuring his father was safe and comfortable. "Routine was crucial," he explains. "It helps him feel secure spending many hours daily ensuring dad’s care." Alongside these duties, Tim is a loving and devoted husband caring for his two nine-year-old twin sons, trying to balance his responsibilities as husband, father and a caregiver.

"It’s challenging, trying to balance work life - caregiver balance, especially while running my own business," Tim admits. "But we found our rhythm." Despite the challenges, Tim found moments of joy in his families’ shared routines. "Seeing my dad smile, while listening to his favorite Blues artists from BB King to Howling Wolf, those moments gave a sense of relief from some real chaotic moments."

The emotional impact of caregiving is significant, and Tim acknowledges the toll it takes. "There were days when it was totally overwhelming," he confides. "But my faith and a support network kept me going." Tim’s community and the resources received from the Alzheimer’s Association was pillars of support. "They understood the cultural nuances and provided a level of support that felt personal and genuine," he says. This support received was crucial in helping him navigate the emotional and mental challenges of caregiving.

African American male caregivers often face unique challenges, from societal stigmas to systemic healthcare disparities. Tim has experienced these issues firsthand. "Navigating the healthcare system can be frustrating," he says. "There’s a lack of understanding and support for what we go through."

Tim is part of a growing demographic of Black male caregivers. Nearly 40 percent of caregivers for older adults are men, and a third of them are Black. However, Black men face unique challenges. They experience the poorest health outcomes of any group in the U.S. and are less likely to be married, often taking on caregiving responsibilities alone. Additionally, they contend with negative societal perceptions. "Black men in America face stress on multiple levels due to our profile and treatment.” 

Despite these obstacles, Tim remains a fierce advocate for those affected by Alzheimer’s or other dementias in honor of his father. "You have to be persistent," he says. "You have to fight for your loved one’s needs."

Amidst the challenges, Tim found moments of joy and fulfillment.  My dad always recognized me, he forgot others constantly, but he always recognized me, even if just for a moment, or seeing my boys sit in his recliner and they now understand PaPa’s health condition and were active participants in this year’s Alzheimer’s Association ‘Release the Silence,’ African American Conference, they’re trying to make a change, that bring me so much happiness," he shares. "Being able to educate my sons on what PaPa was going through bringing resilience and compassion, is incredibly rewarding." Tim has also found solace in connecting with other African American male caregivers. "Sharing our experiences helps," he says. "It reminds us that we’re not alone."

This Father’s Day, Tim message to fellow caregivers is one of encouragement and solidarity. "Take it one day at a time," he advises. "Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And remember, your love and dedication are making a difference, even if it doesn’t always feel like it at the moment."

As Tim looks to the future, his hopes are mixed with realism and optimism. "I know the journey ahead will be tough," he says. "But I’m committed to continue in the fight to live in a world without Alzheimer’s."

Tim Woods’ story, and the stories of many other African American male caregivers, are a testament to the strength, love, and resilience that define true fatherhood. This Father’s Day, we honor these unsung heroes, celebrating their dedication and the profound impact they have on their families and communities.

To all the African American male caregivers out there, we see you, we honor you, and we thank you for your unwavering love and commitment. Happy Father’s Day!



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