Care providers, care receivers: a longitudinal perspective

Emily Grundy and Harriet Young, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

[Project number 30110]

Demographic changes have led to increasing concerns about changes in availability of family support for older people with intensive care needs. The question of the best balance between different types of long term care and how to support caregivers, who play a crucial role, are now important policy issues. During the 1980s use of institutional care increased and the provision of family provided co-residential care decreased. Policy and legislative changes in the 1990s sought to halt the former trend, target resources to those with the highest support needs and improve supports for carers. The research proposed here will inform debates on the effectiveness of these changes. Additionally it will provide new information on the characteristics and antecedents of caregivers and health and employment correlates of care-giving. This will be valuable because most of our existing knowledge on caregivers comes from samples which are not large enough to allow detailed analysis of particular groups of carers, such as those providing more than 50 hours per week or carers from minority ethnic groups, or analysis of factors such as characteristics of neighbourhood or composition of the household.

We will use the ONS LS to:
1. Describe characteristics of those who identify themselves as caregivers in the 2001 census.
2. Examine antecedents of caregiving, including socio-economic status, employment history.
3. Explore possible consequences of caregiving by examining changes in health and employment 1991-2001 among caregivers (indirect inferences).
4. For 'heavy carers' (20+ or 50+ hours of care per week) assumed to be co-resident with the person they care for, analyse characteristics and antecedents of both caregiver and the person they care, focusing on:
a) Spouse caregivers aged 65 and over
b) Intergenerational co resident care
5. Analyse transitions from 'independent' to 'supported' environments (institutions or households of relatives) 1991-2001 among older people and identify associated demographic and socio-economic factors.