Distance Caregiving (DiCa): Care Potential across National Distances and International Boundaries

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 18:20
Oral Presentation
Annette FRANKE, EH Ludwigsburg, Germany
Birgit KRAMER, EH Ludwigsburg, Germany
Pirkko Marit JANN, EH Ludwigsburg, Germany
Ulrich OTTO, Careum Forschung, Switzerland
Iren BISCHOFBERGER, Careum Forschung, Switzerland
Karin VAN HOLTEN, Careum Forschung, Switzerland
Background: In most European countries labour market mobility and changing family patterns are increasing while the number of family carers of elderlies in close proximity decreases. These trends result in a rising demand of insights on „distance caregiving“. So far, there is limited research on a) characteristics of distance carers and health differences compared to caregivers living close by, b) concepts on communication structures and behaviour in the social network around the care arrangement, and c) challenges for wellbeing when distant caregivers try to reconcile work and care.

Objectives: The binational „DiCa“ project (BMBF-SILQUA, 2016-19) with an interdisciplinary German and Swiss research team aims to explore challenges for distance carers and implications for family relationships, social networks and wellbeing of distance caregivers. It also aims to identify strategies for the labour market and health care systems in order to foster carers‘ workplace continuity. Therefore, research questions refer to triple actors: employers, health care system, and family and friend carers.

Methods: In order to establish a strong empirical data basis, the applied project is embedded in a framework of primary and secondary data analysis. (SHARE and the German Ageing Survey). This paper presents the results from N=30 qualitative interviews with distance carers with specific focus on health dynamics and support from network partners around the care arrangement.

Results: At the conference, results will highlight challenges of distance caregiving with a focus on the ambivalence of support from far away. The findings also highlight the social embeddednes of these care arrangements and how the research design contributes to evidence-based interventions and implementation.