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No end of care?: informal care for older parents in Britain between 1985 and 2000

Pickard, Linda (2009) No end of care?: informal care for older parents in Britain between 1985 and 2000. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

This study is concerned with the issue of substitution between formal and informal care in Britain between 1985 and 2000. This period provides the conditions for a ‘natural experiment’ in social policy. During the late 1980s/early 1990s, there was a rapid increase in long-stay residential care for older people, which came to an end around the mid-1990s. The key issues examined here are whether this increase in formal services led to a decline in provision of informal care, and whether this was subsequently reversed. For reasons identified in the literature review, the focus is on provision of intense informal care by adult children to their older parents, trends in which are identified using General Household Survey data. The study shows that there was a significant decline in provision of intense and very intense co-resident care for older parents between 1985 and 1995, which came to an end in the mid-1990s. A number of potential explanations for these trends are explored, including supply-side explanations in terms of changes in socio-demographic factors and employment rates, and an alternative demand-side explanation in terms of changes in ‘spouse care’. The study finds that, under certain circumstances, key trends in intergenerational care were negatively related to changes in long-stay residential care. In particular, the study finds evidence of substitution effects between nursing home/hospital care and very intense co-resident care for older parents provided by adult children for 50 hours a week or more. A key policy implication is that an expansion of very intense formal services for older people could bring about a decline in some of the most intense forms of intergenerational care for older people. The study relates these conclusions to options around reform of the long-term care system currently under consultation in England following the recent Green Paper on social care.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2009 Linda Pickard
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Supervisor: Hills, John and Falkingham, Jane
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/323

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