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Family Matters No. 76 - June 2007

Crisis or commotion? An objective look at evidence on caregiving in families

Cathy Hales

Abstract

There are nearly 500,000 primary carers in Australia, who provide informal care to disabled or aged family members. This article summarises Australian data on the prevalence, role, motivations, assistance needs, and relationship effects of providing informal care. The different studies included in this article highlight the nature of role, responsibility, and obligation, and the importance of supportive and financial assistance. The article concludes with policy implications in the face of an ageing population and conflicting employment and caring demands.

There are nearly 500,000 primary carers in Australia, who provide informal care to disabled or aged family members. This article summarises Australian data on the prevalence, role, motivations, assistance needs, and relationship effects of providing informal care. The different studies included in this article highlight the nature of role, responsibility, and obligation, and the importance of supportive and financial assistance. The article concludes with policy implications in the face of an ageing population and conflicting employment and caring demands.

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