- Relatives as paid care-givers: how family carers experience payments for care
- Ageing and Society
- Volume | Issue number
- 30 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Payments for care, by which people in need of long-term care directly employ care workers, have been introduced in many European countries. In The Netherlands, care dependants are allowed to use these payments to hire relatives to perform care tasks. Care-givers who are employed by their relatives are in a hybrid position, because they are contracted as employees in the informal setting of a family home and its affective care relationships. This paper reports a qualitative study of relatives' experiences of payments for care and how these affect their care-giving. In-depth interviews were undertaken with 17 paid carers: they were asked to respond to three fictional vignettes of contrasting care trajectories. It was found that the cash nexus had mixed and partly contradictory implications for the paid care-givers. On the one hand, the care-givers were satisfied with the arrangement, as the payments recognised and raised their status as carers, and were seen as reward and reciprocation for their care work. Some carers had found that the contract helped manage strained relationships, by enabling a clearer differentiation of care tasks from affection. On the other hand, some who regarded themselves as employees and saw their role as equivalent to formal carers felt a greater obligation to provide high-quality care, and found that they were thanked less often and received fewer tokens of gratitude.
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