Caregiving Responsibilities of Older Women for Chronically Ill and Disabled Family Members

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOlder Women: Current and Future Challenges of Professionals with an Aging Population
EditorsMarcia Spira, Teresa Kilbane
PublisherBentham Science Publishers
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-68108-349-0, 2016
ISBN (Print)978-68108-350-6
StatePublished - 2016


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