Implications for Informal Caregivers – Social&Family Issues Example

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"Implications for Informal Caregivers" is a great example of a paper on social and family issues. According to Wilson, Baines & Martin (2013), informal care has a significant financial implication for caregivers. This includes reduced income or the loss of a job, fewer savings in retirement plans, superannuation, and financial security as well as increased poverty risk. This is to a certain extent reflected in the current disparity in superannuation pay-outs given to informal carers than formal carers. This will hinder informal carers from affording their own health care facilities or costly residential care (Murray et al. , 2012).

O'Shaughnessy, Lee and Lintern (2010) asserted that informal care providing often has a significant negative effect on the ability of informal carers to completely take on a full-time paid job. They explained that the peak working age of informal carers ranged from 35 to 64 where spouses, especially women, taking the role of informal carer quit their jobs or reduced their working hours. O'Shaughnessy, Lee and Lintern (2010) added that informal carers are often forced to consider jobs that offer flexibility in order for them to meet the demands of the informal carer role.

Some informal carers are forced to look for part-time paid work in to meet their household financial requirements. According to Metzer et al. (2000), more than half of informal carers fall in the age group 30-64 years old, most of whom do not have any regular paid employment or work only part-time. Duncan and William’ s (2002) study linked the inability of carers to undertake paid full-time employment to the Breadwinner model, where males have greater responsibility to take paid jobs.

However, with the increase in carer responsibilities, the ability of males to take up paid employment is declining. The contributions of informal carer to the workforce is also greatly dependent on social care provisions, along with the arrangements for a flexible workforce (Koo, 2012). Farquhar et al. (2014) spoke about the consequences of de-institutionalisation of care; this is when care is given in the local community or the care receiver’ s own home by a family member. If a family is faced by the ordeal of a member affected by a disease, its structures and functions are often affected.

Anxiety, distress, fear, and depression are specific to the experience of illness and are considered normal and even adaptive (Molyneaux et al. , 2010). The percentages of clinical mood disorders are particularly high, so there are people seeking aid through psycho-educational programmes and stress management. Caregivers can show emotional problems without meeting strict clinical diagnostic criteria for mood disorders or anxiety, being classified as a sub-clinical sample without any prompt treatment, according to Ream et al. , (2013). Other symptoms may include feelings of hopelessness, worries about the future, poor sleep, lack of appetite, etc.

According to Davies and Fernandez (2000), there is evidence that carer’ s needs for support and help often go unmet. The significance of reduced levels of distress appears to allow carers to continue caring and hence delays in admission to institutional care (Davies and Fernandez, 2000). This delay is often reported as cost-effective. Davies and Fernandez (2000) also argued that the caregiver’ s psychological well-being is a key factor in admission to nursing or residential care. However, they also observed that where levels of daycare are high, the main beneficiary may not be the user but the caregiver.

Aggressive or challenging behaviours can also be a feature, with verbal abuse, shouting, and hitting. This increases the level of distress for informal carers, who provide the mainstay of support. Their negative emotional responses can manifest as either adverse physiological or behavioural responses such as having an inadequate diet, neglecting one’ s own health, lack of physical exercise, and inadequate sleep that may in some extreme conditions contribute to the development of emotional or physical disorders (Davies and Fernandez, 2000).

These increase the subject's risk of physical or mental illnesses (e. g. mood disorders, anxiety disorders, cardiovascular problems, infectious diseases, etc. ), according to Bradshaw et al. , (2013). In addition to physical and emotional problems, the primary caregivers experience major conflicts and tensions with the rest of their own family (Jones et al. , 2012). These conflicts have to do with people’ s behaviours and attitudes, and how they perceive the disease or disability as well as the strategies used to manage the family tensions. With respect to that, some families have to be more patient to the carer who treats their own (Jones et al, 2012).

In England and Wales, counselling or therapeutic social work has been found to be effective in reducing subjective carer burdens, according to Pickard (2001). According to Bauld et al. (2000), informal carers can be subject to extreme pressures resulting from the demands of providing care. Factors that determine the burden of caring to carers include dependency of the care recipient, the time and effort needed to meet their needs, the economic costs of providing care, and a lack of respite or regular rests for the informal carer. Since the introduction of the National Health Service and Community Care Act  (1990), reforms in the United Kingdom included the treating and caring of any mentally or physically disabled person in the home rather than in an institution due to widespread criticisms of the low level of institutional care that was given (Langan, 1990).

Evidence has been found that daycare is effective in reducing carer burden in relation to two specific carer groups.

These are carers of service users with severe cognitive impairment as well as those in the paid employment segment. Carer support groups are valuable as an opportunity for carers to share experiences with people in a similar situation, to exchange information, and for crucial emotional support (Pickard, 2001). However, there is neither conclusive evidence regarding the effectiveness of carer support groups nor that support groups produce direct improvements in the well-being of carers. Relieving the personal costs of caring for the carer is an approach implied by the national strategy for carers (Pickard, 2001).

These costs are immeasurable in financial terms. While it is true that a large percentage of caregivers experience emotional disturbances and tensions, it must be said that these caregivers often have high resilience and even experience positive effects on care, according to Bradshaw et al. (2013). Caregivers’ situations are varied, and not all caring compromised their emotional well-being. In fact, if the caregiver has adequate resources and good coping mechanisms, the situation of caring for the family does not have to necessarily be a frustrating experience for them and they may even get to have some rewarding aspects too (Bradshaw et al, 2013). The positive and negative aspects of caring for a patient are not two competing incompatible elements and research has found that these two aspects can coexist in caregivers (Bradshaw et al. , 2013).

The disease itself is not positive and it is often a source of discomfort for the sufferer and for people in their environment, but in this process, it can capture the positive elements of the caregiver and the patient, such as the ability to gradually overcome these problems (Bradshaw et al. , 2013).

It can bring people closer and help them learn to appreciate the really important things in life, according to Goodman, Rabow and Folkman (2007).

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