Wright, Fay Dorothy (1984)
A study of the care of disabled elderly parents in the community by single daughters and sons.
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The thesis looks at the effect of the social policy of community care for infirm elderly parents on their supporting single daughters and sons˙ It is a small empirical study of a sample of 58 carers whose parents were on the district nursing records of one area health authority. Most of the parents were in their eighties or nineties and all had multiple impairments. The daughters and sons (the carers) were themselves usually approaching or above retirement age. Common problems arising from parental dependency included broken sleep, few leisure activities outside the home, difficulties in taking a holiday and in maintaining friendships. The majority of the women below retirment age were unable to maintain a full-time job outside the home; but it was rare for a son's employment to be so affected.
Several issues were highlighted by the research findings. In practice the policy of community care meant that the burden of care usually fell on one person. Not only did a substantial number of the single men and women totally lack supportive kin, those who had kin were usually given little support by such kin in coping with the parent. Although neighbours gave some form of practical support to about half the carers, the more infirm the parent the less likely were they to be supportive. As far as the statutory health and personal social services were concerned, the carers received relatively little support in the form of counselling or advice from district nurses or social workers. Although the social services departments often gave practical support such as Meals on Wheels or home help, services which would effectively share the burden of care, such as day care or short term places in residential Homes, were not readily available.
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Institution: University of London, Bedford College (United Kingdom).