Journal Article

Themes in Family Care-Giving: Implications for Social Work Practice with Older Adults

Joanie Sims-Gould and Anne Martin-Matthews

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 38, issue 8, pages 1572-1587
Published in print December 2008 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online October 2007 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Themes in Family Care-Giving: Implications for Social Work Practice with Older Adults

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This study advances the understanding of family care-giving by examining the provision of care to an older relative by adult children. It focuses on examining ‘who helps whom’ by extending analyses beyond the typical dyadic focus of care-giving in later life. The data for this research are derived from CARNET: The Canadian Aging Research Network’s survey of employed Canadians. Specifically, the analysis focuses on verbatim data collected from fifty-five CARNET respondents with significant care-giving responsibilities. Through in-depth analysis of verbatim data, five themes in care-giving are identified: the presence and importance of absent care-givers, the presence of multiple care recipients, the participation of men in helping and care-giving, the balance of direct and assistive help, and the presence of paid helpers in care-giving networks. Three descriptive care-giving vignettes are used to illustrate the five themes. Conclusions underscore the implications for professional practice, policy and research when the lens of care-giving is extended to include multiple care-givers and care recipients.

Keywords: older adults; family care-giving; helping in care-giving; absent care-givers; men as care-givers; paid care-givers

Journal Article.  6841 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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