Omsorgens pris i åtstramningstid : Anhörigomsorg för äldre ur ett könsperspektiv

Sammanfattning: This thesis examines the extent of family care for older people, primarily filial care, and the costs of caring in the Swedish welfare state. Costs of caring are understood as the negative effects of caregiving, primarily on the caregivers’ working life. The analysis is inspired by feminist theories on the importance of welfare state provisions for care for women’s citizenship, including personal autonomy and economic independence.The main aims of this thesis are twofold. The first is to explore the extent and development of family care for older persons in Sweden, primarily filial care, and the consequences of caregiving for well-being and working life. The second is to explore how older persons’ family members have been represented and the possible consequences of these representations for the development of publicly financed eldercare services and other forms of support for family carers, as well as for family members’ living conditions.The thesis consists of four studies. The first reviews the literature concerning the extent and consequences of family caregiving for older persons and the welfare state’s policy responses to older people’s care needs. The second study analyses how older persons’ family members and their role in eldercare have been represented in Swedish eldercare policy since the 1950s. The third study analyses surveys to explore changes during the 2000s in the role of the family, the public sector and the market in providing care for older persons in Sweden. The fourth study is a survey analysis of the extent, content and consequences of filial care among middle-aged women and men in Sweden in 2013.The policy analysis found that the expansion of eldercare was motivated solely in relation to older persons’ needs; thus working daughters’ needs of eldercare have been a blind spot in Swedish eldercare policy.Since 2000, every fourth residential care bed has disappeared and the increase in homecare services did not fully compensate for the decline, resulting in a significant increase in filial care in all social groups, and among both sons and daughters. Daughters of older persons with shorter education, however, remained the primary providers of filial care.Both daughters and sons are affected by caregiving. They suffer to the same extent from difficulties in managing to accomplish their work tasks and taking part in meetings, courses and travels. They are also equally likely to reduce their working hours and to quit their job. It is however clearly more common that daughters experience mental and physical strain, difficulties in finding time for leisure and reduced ability to focus on their job. Although more daughters than sons retire earlier than planned due to filial care, this is very rare.Managerial care (handling contacts with health and eldercare services) has a more salient role in a welfare state such as Sweden, with generously provided care services, less intense filial care and high employment rates among both sexes. The high labour force participation however makes middle aged children more vulnerable when their parents’ care arrangement does not work. The decline in eldercare services since 1980 has reinforced co-ordination problems in health and eldercare services. The managerial care required to handle this development, while living up to the demands of work and family life, stands out as especially demanding for the well-being and working lives of daughters.