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Journal article

An assessment of the relationship between informal caring and quality of life in older community-dwelling adults: more positives than negatives?

Authors:
RATCLIFFE Julie, et al
Journal article citation:
Health and Social Care in the Community, 21(1), 2013, pp.35-46.
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell

This study used the Index of Capability (ICECAP-O) instrument to measure the quality of life of a representative sample of the older South Australian population according to carer status. A survey including the ICECAP-O instrument, carer status and several socio-demographic questions was administered in 2009 to 789 individuals aged 65 years or older in their own homes. A total of 671 individuals characterised themselves as a non-carer and 115 individuals characterised themselves as an informal carer. In general, carers exhibited relatively high quality of life as measured by the ICECAP-O, with carers having comparable mean ICECAP-O scores to non-carers in the general population. The results indicated statistically significant variations in overall ICECAP-O scores according to age, with younger participants tending to have slightly higher scores on average. Average ICECAP-O scores were noticeably lower for carers who were separated or divorced and for carers who lived alone. The authors concluded that the provision of informal care may be associated with a positive impact upon quality of life for many caregivers, which may mediate the negative aspects arising from the burden associated with informal care-giving.

Journal article

Helpful citizens and caring families: patterns of informal help and caregiving in Sweden in a 17-year perspective

Authors:
JEGERMALM Magnus, GRASSMAN Eva Jeppsson
Journal article citation:
International Journal of Social Welfare, 21(4), October 2012, pp.422-432.
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell

This article reports on an analysis of informal help and caregiving in Sweden with a focus on patterns of change over 17 years. In particular, it examines whether there has been a change in the extent of caregiving, the type of caregivers, and the relationship between the caregivers and the recipients of help. The discussion is based on results from a national survey repeated 4 times between 1992 and 2009. The survey asked whether the respondent regularly helped someone with whom they did not live (relatives, neighbours, co-workers or friends) with activities such as housework, transport, or gardening. In order to discuss how the trends can be understood in the Swedish context, the findings are analysed using 2 interpretative perspectives: the welfare state and impact of recent changes; and civil society and its possible and changing role. The findings indicate that in the 1990s the figures were stable, but from the late 1990s to 2009, there was a dramatic increase in the extent of informal help giving. Concerning types of helpers, the patterns implied involvement not only from family members, but also from other types of helpers.

Journal article

Mapping the future of family care: receipt of informal care by older people with disabilities in England to 2032

Authors:
PICKARD Linda, et al
Journal article citation:
Social Policy and Society, 11(4), October 2012, pp.533-545.
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press

Today, in many economically developed countries, long-term care systems are reliant on informal care. However, in the context of population ageing, there are concerns about the future supply of informal care. This article reports on projections of informal care receipt by older people with disabilities from spouses and adult children to 2032 in England. The current projections show that the relative numbers of older people with disabilities who have a child will fall by 2032, and that the extent of informal care in future may be lower than previously estimated. The policy implications for England are discussed.

Journal article

Help from spouse and from children among older people with functional limitations: comparison of England and Finland

Authors:
BLOMGREN Jenni, et al
Journal article citation:
Ageing and Society, 32(6), August 2012, pp.905-933.
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press

This study, using nationally representative data from England and Finland, investigated receipt of help from spouse and children among community-dwelling people aged 70+ years with functional limitations. In both countries, women and those with more functional limitations had higher odds of receiving spousal and filial help. In England, but not in Finland, those receiving formal public help had lower odds of receiving spousal help than those with no formal help. Those with low education received more filial help in England, but no association was found between formal and filial help. In Finland, the effect of education was not significant but those receiving formal help had higher odds of also receiving filial help. The results suggest that in a liberal market-led state, the role of children may be to help their parents living alone and with low financial resources. The authors concluded that, in the context of a generous welfare state, children may function more as active agents bridging the gap between their parents and traditional services.

Journal article

Caregiving in the Pacific Rim: a comparison of Asian and non-Asian caregiving experiences

Authors:
ARNBERGER Pam, CHANG Nathan, MENSENDIER Martha
Journal article citation:
Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work and Development, 19(2), December 2009, pp.38-51.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis

Surveys of informal carers in California and Hawaii in 2002 and 2007 respectively were combined and analysed to see if there is a uniquely Asian model of caregiving. Differences between Asian and non-Asian carers exist; there were more Asian male carers, Asian carers had significantly higher socio-economic status measured by education and income, fewer of the Asian carers were born in the United States and were more likely to be caring for parents and in-laws than carers from other ethnicities who were more likely to be spouses or friends. With over half of carers unemployed, Asian carers had more likely given up work, rather than be retired or alter their work status. Asian carers provided care for longer periods, were more likely to have help, less likely to admit caregiving was affecting family life and emotional stress. Asian carers, while respecting their caregiving traditions, experience difficulties in adapting them into their lives. Asians are less likely to feel they are setting an example to family and experience fewer rewards. A unique style of Asian caregiving is identified, but to assume that all Asian carers are managing and the best cost effectiveness is achieved by making dramatic sacrifices such as giving up skilled work is incorrect. Research to determine areas of needed assistance and to develop culturally sensitive policies to encourage Asian carers to utilise available support is suggested.

Journal article

The inter-relationship between formal and informal care: a study in France and Israel

Authors:
LITWIN Howard, ATTIAS-DONFUT Claudine
Journal article citation:
Ageing and Society, 29(1), January 2009, pp.71-91.
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press

This study examined whether formal care services delivered to frail older people's homes in France and Israel substitute for or complement informal support. The two countries have comparable family welfare systems but many historical, cultural and religious differences. Data for the respondents aged 75 or more years at the first wave of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) were analysed. Regressions were examined of three patterns of care from outside the household: informal support only, formal support only and both formal and informal care, with the predictor variables including whether informal help was provided by a family member living in the household. The results revealed that about one-half of the respondents received no help at all (France 51%, Israel 55%), about one-tenth received care from a household member (France 8%, Israel 10%), and one-third were helped by informal carers from outside the household (France 34%, Israel 33%). More French respondents (35%) received formal care services at home than Israelis (27%). Most predictors of the care patterns were similar in the two countries. The analysis showed that complementarity is a common outcome of the co-existence of formal and informal care, and that mixed provision occurs more frequently in situations of greater need. It is also shown that spouse care-givers had less formal home-care supports than either co-resident children or other family care-givers. Even so, spouses, children and other family care-givers all had considerable support from formal home-delivered care.

Journal article

Older people – recipients but also providers of informal care: an analysis among community samples in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland

Authors:
MCGEE Hannah M., et al
Journal article citation:
Health and Social Care in the Community, 16(5), September 2008, pp.548-553.
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell

Data on both the provision and receipt of informal care among populations of older adults are limited. Patterns of both informal care provided and received by older adults in the Republic of Ireland (RoI) and Northern Ireland (NI) were evaluated. A cross-sectional community-based population survey was conducted. Randomly selected older people (aged 65+, n = 2033, mean age (standard deviation): 74.1 years (6.8), 43% men, 68% response rate) provided information on the provision and receipt of care, its location, and the person(s) who provided the care. Twelve per cent of the sample (251/2033) identified themselves as informal caregivers (8% RoI and 17% NI). Caregivers were more likely to be women, married, have less education and have less functional impairment. Forty-nine per cent reported receiving some form of care in the past year. Care recipients were more likely to be older, married, have more functional impairment, and poorer self-rated health. Receiving regular informal care (help at least once a week) from a non-resident relative was the most common form of help received. Five per cent (n = 102/2033) of the sample reported both providing and receiving informal care. Levels of informal care provided by community-dwelling older adults were notably higher than reported in single-item national census questions. The balance of formal and informal health and social care will become increasingly important as populations age. It is essential, therefore, to evaluate factors facilitating or impeding informal care delivery.

Journal article

Care provision for African American elders: family attitudes and strategies

Author:
STEWART Pearl
Journal article citation:
Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 6(1), 2008, pp.61-81.
Publisher:
Routledge
Place of publication:
Philadelphia

This study uses a qualitative method and a Kinscripts perspective to examine in detail the attitudes towards caring for their elderly members of a large, extended African American family originating in rural North Carolina. Forty-eight interviews with family members aged 15 to 80 revealed a continued strong commitment to providing care for older people at home, which pre-dates slavery and has its roots in West African culture. There is an emphasis on spreading tasks across a broad range of family members rather than relying on a primary carer, with the majority of older people continuing to live in their own homes. (Copies of this article are available from: Haworth Document Delivery Centre, Haworth Press Inc., 10 Alice Street,  Binghamton, NY 13904-1580).

Book Full text available online for free

Supporting older families: making a real difference

Author:
MAGRILL Dalia
Publisher:
Mental Health Foundation
Publication year:
2005
Pagination:
107p.
Place of publication:
London

Older families are a priority group for support, but it is important that their needs are linked in to the mainstream agendas of services for people with learning disabilities, older people and carers generally. It is important that we make sure that older families have their needs met now, and are supported to remain together for as long as they wish whilst planning for the future with confidence. However, it is equally important that we get things right for older families now so that others who are growing older do not face the same anxieties, uncertainty and fears that so many older family carers have lived with for decades.

Journal article

A new typology of home-care helpers

Authors:
PORTER Eileen J., et al
Journal article citation:
Gerontologist, 44(6), December 2004, pp.750-759.
Publisher:
Gerontological Society of America

The formal–informal dichotomy of home care, a theoretical framework in quantitative and qualitative research, might not be descriptive of older persons' views about their home-care providers. This qualitative study explores the perspectives of older women about the characteristics of their home-care providers. Three interviews were conducted with each of 25 women (aged 80–94) during the first 4 months of participation in a 3-year phenomenological study. The women described their helpers. Helper types are differentiated on the basis of the nature of the help, and we variations in compensation arrangements are explored. The results delineate a new typology of home-care helpers: regular helpers, on-call helpers, can-will doers and mainstays. When home-care helpers are categorised by type of assistance provided, the potential value of their efforts is more evident. The association of formal care with paid help and informal care with nonpaid help limits the effectiveness of the dichotomy as a basis for home-care-payment policies. The new home-care-helper typology cuts across the dimensions of the dichotomy, providing an alternative theoretical framework for further research.

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