Caregiving Responsibilities of Older Women for Chronically Ill and Disabled Family Members
Pp. 32-47 (16)
Deborah J. Monahan
As women age, the likelihood that they will become caregivers increases.
Older women perform caregiving roles in their homes and informally in long term care
facilities for chronically ill and disabled family members. Married older women often
provide eldercare to their spouses and caregiving roles are increasing as women age
and men live longer. Providing eldercare has become a normative life transition for
older women and a significant concern when their own health status is waning.
Although older men also provide eldercare to parents and wives, their numbers are not
as large. While less research has focused on the health implications of older women
who are caregivers—the majority has focused on middle-aged adult daughters. Many
older women provide care for family members and spouses in their home; however,
when family members are too vulnerable and require higher levels of care (e.g. nursing
homes or assisted living facilities), they spend considerable time visiting and helping
care for them once they are in the long term care system. The purpose of this chapter is
to examine the influence of demographic factors on the propensity of older caregivers
to provide care to chronically ill and disabled family members and to examine the
trends, policy and practice implications for social workers.
Older women and adult daughters, Older women caregivers.
School of Social Work, Syracuse University, MacNaughton Hall Syracuse, NY 13244, USA.