Family Caregivers: Disability, Illness and Ageing.
The initial aim of the research was to identify the complex profile of carers in the community and describe their experiences across a range of disabilities and demographic descriptors. There is an important longitudinal aspect to this research as the experience of caregiving is described over time -- a rare aspect of carer research. An interesting feature of this longitudinal study is that the authors describe the inclusion of a health promotion element within the research process -- a feature which gives the research a strong action research orientation.
Central to the research is the development and piloting of a survey questionnaire that was sent to a random sample of 1000 carets. It is also important to note that this survey included a representative sample of non-English speaking carers. Another distinguishing feature of the methodology is that it is not reliant on a definition of carers that assumes the co-location of the cater with the person she/he is caring for, that is, it respects the psychological and dependency elements of caring as well as the physical ones. Finally, a sample of carets was involved in follow up interviews -- again a feature of the research which adds considerably to the validity of the findings.
The outcomes of the research deserve to be read in their entirety. The book is very easy to read and combines statistical data with descriptive data in a very engaging way. For those readers who wish to concentrate on the data analysis rather than the findings, the appendices are extensive and honour the methodological rigour of this research. One of the positive aspects of the description of outcomes in the book is the non-pathologising of carets. The notion of burden, so common in the literature on caring, is replaced with a vision of strength and energy on the part of caters. However, the risks of caring are well documented. The chapter on findings provides a rich tapestry of information for policy makers and providers to consider.
This book is based on quality Australian research about the needs of caregivers across a range of disabilities. There is a paucity of well researched caret literature in Australia and a lot of what we do have, though useful, is anecdotal. This book helps considerably to address that deficit and to do so in a way that makes the research findings very available to carets, academics, students, service providers and policy makers.
Maria Harries, School of Social Work & Social Policy, University of Western Australia
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Australian Journal of Social Issues|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Aug 1, 1999|
|Previous Article:||Sweet Charity. The Role and Workings of Voluntary Organisations.|
|Next Article:||NATIONAL AND CULTURAL IDENTITIES: INTRODUCTION.|