Family Caregivers: Disability, Illness, and Ageing

By Hilary Schofield; Sidney Bloch et al. | Go to book overview
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Existing research provides valuable information about certain subgroups, for example those caring for dementia sufferers and the elderly, which is vital for practice and for providing services. But it is limited in representation and does not establish whether carers, as a group, are substantially different from other community groups, specifically in warranting government priority in allocating resources. The few previous comparisons with non-carers have been limited to a particular disability or age-group, and/or in the size and representativeness of the sample. 1To overcome these limitations, our survey included as a comparison a representative sample of 219 'non-carers' drawn at random from the same population as our carers. We assessed differences between carers and non-carers in five areas:
self-reported physical health
psychological well-being
life satisfaction
social support
feelings of overload. 2

Given the preponderance of women carers and the possibility that men and women may experience the role differently, 3 our comparison was limited to women. The comparison group was further restricted to those living with a partner, children or both; that is, women with usual household and/or parenting responsibilities. The aim was to obtain a comparison sample which highlighted differences emanating


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