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Patterns of caring for older people: an ethnic dimension

By Patricia Gibson


Care in the community increasingly means care by the community, i.e. the family. The present focus on informal carers by policy makers reflects their importance to the success of community care legislation (NHS and Community Care Act, 1990; Carers (Recognition and Services) Act, 1995). Much of the published information on the impact of caring has neglected the circumstances of carers from minority ethnic groups. Hence, this research explores the caring situations and experiences of informal carers of older people from Gujarati, Punjabi and white indigenous communities. \ud \ud Semi-structured interview schedules were used to elicit both quantitative and qualitative information from each of the three groups. Overall, the data confirmed some universal features of caring in that it is the family, and in particular women, who care for older people. However, the motivation for caring dffered between the three cultural groups. \ud \ud Findings also showed that many of the socio-demo graphic characteristics in the Gujarati and Punjabi groups were similar in that they tended to be co-resident, were younger and cared for a younger age group than white indigenous carers. However, a closer look at the data on the psychosocial aspects of caring revealed some distinct differences between the two South Asian groups. Gujarati and white indigenous carers reported higher levels of morale, significantly lower levels of stress and significantly higher perceived coping abilities than the Punjabi group of carers. This latter group reported using a proportionately lower number of active coping strategies and more avoidance coping techniques than Gujarati and white indigenous carers. Punjabi carers were also significantly less satisfied with any help received from formal and informal sources than the other two groups. \ud \ud In light of these findings, which emphasize some distinct dfferences in caring circumstances, a number of recommendations are made for both policy makers and future research \u

Topics: HV1450, HV3176, HQ1060
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Provided by: NECTAR
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