The Society for Social Work and Research

2013 Annual Conference

January 16-20, 2013 I Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina I San Diego, CA

Diversity in Family Caregiving Experiences During Late Life

Friday, January 18, 2013: 8:00 AM-9:45 AM
Executive Center 2B (Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina)
Cluster: Aging Services and Gerontology
Symposium Organizer:
Nancy P. Kropf, PhD, Georgia State University
With the increases in the older population, caring for older adults has become a more typical experience within the family life course.  In a national survey, an estimated 28 million household (24% of all households in the country) are involved in providing care to an older family member (National Alliance for Caregiving, 2009).  Furthermore, only 35% the caregivers receive help from paid sources which means that the majority of elder care is completed by informal types of support. The complexities of elder care can tax the coping and resources of families, resulting in challenges with functioning and performing social roles.  As the baby boom population enters their later years, these issues are expected to intensify over the coming decades.

The population of older adults is increasing in diversity as well as in size. This symposium of four related presentations will highlight various family caregiving configurations and experiences.  The first paper will highlight the issues related to employment and elder care, as the majority of care providers balance work and caregiving responsibilities.  In a national sample, 73% of caregivers were employed outside of the home and about two-thirds had lost work time as a result of caregiving demands (National Alliance for Caregiving, 2009).  Other research has specifically addressed the stresses that employed care providers experience as they balance family and labor force roles and responsibilities (Koerin & Secret,2008;  Lyonette & Yardley, 2006).  This presentation will analyze service use and socio-demographic variables that are associated with stressful outcomes of care.

The remaining presentations will analyze various family care configurations.  The second paper in the symposium reports on a study of families who provide care to an older adult who is depressed.  Depression is one of the two most prevalent mental health conditions of later life, impacting an estimated 15% of individuals over age 65  (Geriatric Mental Health Foundation, 2011).  Depression of the care recipient can lead to additional responsibilities in care, and add to the amount of time spent in care provision (Langa et al., 2004).  The third presentation also explores depression, but this study focuses on caregivers of older adults with severe mental illness(SMI).  With this subpopulation of older adults expected to double by 2030 (Cohen, 2003), additional understanding of this caregiving experience is required.  The current study reports on predictors of depression in caregivers of older adults with SMI.

The final paper reports on cross – national trends in caregiving for adults with developmental or intellectual disabilities.  This presentation synthesizes research on family caregiving issues in the US, Northern Ireland, and Ireland.  Data about patterns of family care and, impact of care on family functioning, will be reported across multiple studies.

In the discussion, implications for practice and policy will be addressed.  Related to the conference theme, social justice issues will be summarized.  Finally, the stakes for families and society will be discussed if these important societal issues continue to be neglected.

* noted as presenting author
Dual Roles: Employed Caregivers of Older Adults
Abby Schwartz, MGS, MSW, Boston College
Late-Life Depression Care: Individual and Collective Perspectives of Family Members
Marilyn Luptak, PhD, University of Utah; Maureen Henry, JD, University of Utah; Claire Duffy, BA, University of Utah
Predictors of Depression Among Caregivers of Older Adults with Severe Mental Illness
Sherry Cummings, PhD, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Nancy P. Kropf, PhD, Georgia State University
Older Caregivers of People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Philip McCallion, PhD, State University of New York at Albany
See more of: Symposia