Informal support for the elderly in selected European countries from the perspective of caregivers

Jolanta Kurkiewicz, Cracow University of Economics
Ewa Soja, Cracow University of Economics

The goal of the current study is to investigate the extent and type of non-financial and informal support provided for people from outside of the household, in the context of individual, family-related, social, and economic characteristics of people providing help. In the process of aging the entire population is involved. The existence of support flows is one of many sings of this involvement. We consider informal support for the older people in selected European countries from the point of view of donors. We reflect on support associated with practical help to facilitate the elderly functioning in everyday life. Taking into account changes in the size and structure of families and households, which consist in reducing the families’ size and verticalization of relations, it is of particular importance to provide support for the elderly by both related people and non-family members. The main goal is connected with the following hypotheses: (1) the frequency of aid is explained by the individual characteristics of caregivers such as age, sex, education, professional activity, and health status; (2) provision of support varies depending on functioning of caregivers in social networks. In order to demonstrate the impact of individual characteristics of caregivers and their involvement in social networks on providing support, probit and logit models will be applied. Data extracted from a study "Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE)" will be used as a source of information. The expected result of the research is to identify the conditions leading to the involvement of relatives and people from outside of the family in assisting the elderly. The obtained results can be used to provide directions for social policy supporting caregivers of older people.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session 2