Labour of love or duty? Cultural assumptions about the role of daughters in older parents’ caregiving & social work practice

Medard, Anne (2011) Labour of love or duty? Cultural assumptions about the role of daughters in older parents’ caregiving & social work practice. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Following the demographic trends of many other industrialised countries, the UK has a population that is ageing fast. In 2009 it was estimated by the Office for National Statistics that the numbers of people aged 85 and over had doubled that of 1984 reaching 1.4 million. Due to these demographic changes and government’s efforts to cut expenditures, there has been a renewed interest in family caregiving, and it has been recognised that families make a considerable contribution to the care of older people. However the role of older caregiving within families is not equally shared as statistics show that, apart from spouses adult children are the main source of elderly care. Not only that but also, amongst adult children daughters are more likely to provide care to their older parents than sons. Research shows that these daughters provide care to their ageing parents not only because they feel it is their responsibility but also because their families and the society as a whole expect them to do so. This has great implications on both caregiving ‘burden’ and social work practice as professionals’ cultural assumptions/expectations about caregiving daughters can hinder their practice and service provision.

    Therefore through literature review of both qualitative and quantitative studies, this research aims at exploring different perspectives which explain older parent-adult child caregiving relationship and the role of gender in family care will be explored in order to understand how the role of elderly care is perceived by the society. As professionals are also the product of culture this study also aims to analyse the implications of these cultural assumptions on social work practice.

    The results show that for services which are responsive to need it is important to take a culture that conditions caring relationships into account and for social work practitioners to identify their own cultural assumptions and stereotypes in order to avoid bias in their practice.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Science > School of Health Sciences and Social Work
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2011 15:39
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:39

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