"The word 'carer' means
someone who looks after a
freidn, relative or neighbour
who needs support
because of their sickness,
age or disability. (Directgov, 2006)
There are 6 million unpaid
family carers in the UK,
saving us £57 billion each
Some family members
have no choice in
providing care for others.
1.2 Who counts as a carer?
Parker and Lawton (1994) said
you're a carer if you provide
personal hygiene services,
physical labour, medicine and
social interaction. These are
not normal family member jobs,
but it can be hard to consider
yourself as a carer.
Whether you are a carer or not
matters to those who need to plan
carer support services, to
organisations like 'Carers UK', to
employers who have to
acknowledge care responsibilities
and to the carer if they want to seek
To qualify for carers allowance they
must be caring for 35 plus hours a
week, be aged over 16 and not a
student, earn less than £95 per week
and be caring for someone over the
age of 65 or that qualifies as disabled.
Duration and frequency.
It's difficult to calculate how
much time people spend
caring, some need more
care one day than others.
Labelling and identity. People
must "give up" the role of
mother/daughter etc. and adopt
the role of a carer in order to get
support. The person recieving
care also has to acknowledge
themselves as a 'cared for
Interdependence. Some people
may reciprocate the care they
recieve in alternative ways, and
other family members may chip in
every now and again to help with
Networks. A family member that chooses to
help out a lot may interfere with the primary
care giver's chance of receiving carer's
2.1 What is it like to care?
Can be hard work, demanding of skill,
restricting, stressful, isolated,
emotionally demanding, guilt provoking,
trapped, obligation, frightening. physically
demanding and rewarding.
Care is not always a negative
Care is often described as
a love of labour.
2.2 What affects care relationships?
Quality of relationship (Jane Lewis and Barbara
Meredith, 1988). They studied daughters that
were caring for their mother's and found that the
relationship they had prior to care was very
Quality of relationship (Liz Forbat, 2005) She interviews 6 pairs
of family carer/care reciever relationships. She found that the
past history of the relationship must be considered before a
carer is selected as it is easier to care well for those you get
Choice. In the survey "You can take him home now" in
2001, 70% surveys were not told about alternative
Choice. The idea that parents have earned the right to be cared for through raising
their children is widely held within families (Finch, 1989) and in different
cultures. (Jones and Rupp, 2000)
Support. The amount of informal support
received from family and friends and that
amount of formal support received from external
2.3 Wife, mother, daughter, carer.
Family carers are never just carers
and have lots of other roles too.
A carer is often seen as "a
woman's role" in society.
Although many men are carers,
this is often later on in life so they
don't have the stress of juggling
caring for an adult with caring for
children. (Evandrau, 1990)
2.4 The other side of the relationship: what is it like to be cared for?
The government make heroes of carers, but
forget those being cared for. (Forbat, 2005)
"Carers play a vital role, looking after those who
are sick, disabled, vulnerable or frail." (National
Strategy for Carers)
There is no "Cared For UK."
Those receiving care feel a loss or power
and control, feel a burden, are fearful,
isolated and a lack of choice.
There are around half a million cases of abuse of the
elderly each year. Most of these are in their own
home at the hands of family members or paid carers.
2.5 Asking for help.
It usually takes a crisis to prompt someone to realise
they aren't coping and to seek help. (Cavaye, 2007)
People don't want to admit
they aren't coping.
3.1 Carers: some facts.
In 2001, 6 million people in the UK were unpaid family carers.
68% of these cared for up to 19 hours per week. 11% cared for
20 - 49 hours per week. 21% cared for over 50 hours per
58% of carers are women, 42% are men.
The peak age for becoming a carer is between 50 - 59.
175,000 under 18's are carers and 13,029 care for over
50 hours per week.
51% of carers provide personal care.
57% provide help with mobility. 22%
give medicine. 71% provide 'other
70% of carers are age 65+.
38% care for one of their
parents. 18% care for spouses
3.2 Experiencing care as a younger person.
Often feel a burden, fearful, isolated and that
they have no choice.
Unlike the elderly, they rely on someone
for the majority of their lives and also have
to face the possibility that their family won't
always be there to care for them.
Many family carers feel that caring about
someone means you must care for them,
that they would be negatively viewed if they
didn't provide care and that they have a
family duty to provide care.
4.1 Changing families: family life in the 1950's.
Peter Townsend studied Bethnal Green in 1957.
Bethnal Green was the home to 54,000
people at the time, 200 of which he studied in
Shared care was possible between family members because 46%
of those interviewed lived with younger relatives, between the 200
interviews there was 2,700 relatives within a mile, 85% of those
with children had one of them living within a mile, 78% saw a son or
daughter every day and older woman could reciprocate care until
they were very ill.
If these family members didn't provide
care, the demands on services would be
Most care is done by
Providing care was a normal
feature of family life.
Care was made a lot
easier by living so close by.
4.2 Families and caring: Bethnal Green in the late 20th century.
Geoff Dench, Kate Gavron and
Michael Young revisited in
The biggest change that they
found was the 1/3 of the
population were Bangladeshi
and filled 3/5 of school places.
From the 530 people surveyed 177 had no relatives
near by, 198 had one or two relatives close by and
155 had 3+ relatives close by.
Families are now more
than in the past due to
changes in the economy,
housing policy and
4.3 Do families still care?
Hazel Qureshi and Alan Walker (1989) looked at
whether families still cared 30 years later in the
1950's. They found no evidence to suggest that
families no longer care.
They came up with the term "normative
pressures" meaning that there is a
strong expectation by others that families
should provide care for relatives.
Most family members accept that elderly relatives
are their responsibility.
Some struggle to meet these
responsibilities due to geographical
scattering, which is why interest in carers
has grown in recent years.