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The Impact of Caring on Family Carers

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Abstract:

Supporting the role of informal carers (family and friends providing mostly unpaid care to frail seniors) is important to provide an adequate continuum of care between informal and formal care. While caregiving can be beneficial for carers in terms of their self‐esteem, it can be difficult for working‐age carers to combine paid work with caring duties and carers may choose to quit paid works or reduce the work hours. This may compromise their future employability and lead to permanent drop‐out from the labour market. Caring may also cause burnout and stress, potentially leading to worsening physical and mental health. This chapter offers an overview of the characteristics of family carers and the impact of caring for frail seniors on labour market and health outcomes of carers. This will provide insights in how to shape policy reforms with the objectives of 1) helping carers to combine caring responsibilities with paid work; and 2) improving carers' physical and mental wellbeing by reducing mental health problems. Countries which want to maintain or increase reliance on family carers will need to alleviate the burden of family carers and reduce the economic costs associated with caring responsibilities.

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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