Healthcare Worker Says Men Are Overwhelmingly Dying Alone In Nursing Homes — 'Nobody Showed Up'

While women in nursing homes are often well taken care of, healthcare workers have noticed men are left to spend their last moments alone.

Last updated on Mar 22, 2024

lonely old man looking out a window Bonsales / Shutterstock

Many families turn to nursing homes where they know their aging loved one can get the dedicated attention they need when it becomes more difficult to take care of themselves. While some families make it a point to consistently visit their loved ones, according to one healthcare worker, some elderly people are left to live out the rest of their lives alone — and it's usually men.

The healthcare worker explained why it's become overwhelmingly common for men to die alone.

In a TikTok video, Gwendolyn Shanell responded to a comment from someone who shared that they had repeatedly asked their husband to “step up his parenting game.” Shanell had some harsh facts to deliver about men like the one they were discussing, telling women not to waste time worrying about men who don't show up for their families as the men will feel the consequences in time.


Shanell, who claimed she has worked in the healthcare field for years, told people watching that men are overwhelmingly dying alone. She said that when it comes to residents in nursing homes, the women have family members who visit often, but male residents are another story, often passing away with no one but medical professionals at their sides. 



“I am the one who is right there when some of these men are taking their last breaths,” she shared. “Nobody showed up for them… Not their kids… Not their wives… Not Their grandkids.”


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She said the men who refuse to be there for their families while they are young lose everyone and everything as they age.

“They were not good men while they were alive,” the TikToker explained, noting that men like this will continue to die alone.

On a day-to-day basis, she witnesses elderly men expiring in loneliness and despair, with no one left who cares about them in their last days just as they weren't there for their families throughout their lives. But are men dying from loneliness in their old age or are they passing away naturally and just happen to have no family or friends at their bedsides? According to studies, men who live alone have higher risk factors for many illnesses that can cut their lives short.

When a matriarch dies, it often feels like a deep and traumatizing loss for everyone in the family. They may have spent time at her bedside, sharing their love as she transitioned. They mourn her nurturing spirit, the family traditions she has passed down, her strength, her loyalty to her loved ones and her unmatched ability to make everything seem okay at will.


But when a patriarch passes, seeing the family band together to ease their worries and send them off with good vibes and musings about a job well done is less common. There are undoubtedly some men who, like elderly women, were the glue that held their families together, but according to Shanell, more often than not, there is much less fanfare when an older man dies.

lonely old man sitting in a charPhoto: Ground Picture / Shutterstock

RELATED: No, There Isn't 'Someone For Everyone' —​ Some People Actually Do Die Alone


There are several factors that impact this phenomenon.

When men struggle with meeting their patriarchal duties, they often have difficulty being vulnerable and sharing their emotions, instead choosing to ignore them and, in the process, lose people who love them. A 2015 study also found that men are less likely to forgive than women, alienating themselves from those whom they feel may have wronged them in life, especially in a culture when going no contact with family members has become more common.

Whatever the reason, it is sad when people take their last breath alone and with nobody who cares around. Love is an action word, and it is like currency. Throughout life, the way that you connect with people and what you do to show you care is ‘banked’ and when it’s your time to go, those you’ve invested in will be there for you as you have been for them.

RELATED: Why 'Rich' People Don’t Put Their Parents In Nursing Homes — And What They Do Instead


NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.