Caregiving women and the US welfare state: the case of elder kin care by low-income women.

Deborah Ward, P. A. Carney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Long-term care in the unique US welfare state is largely a private responsibility, and current long-term care policy rests on the assumption that care--of the elderly, in our example--will be provided by women. Because alternatives to personal care of dependent kin are available based on ability to pay, lower-income women bear a disproportionate burden. A study was undertaken to examine the experience of caregiving in a convenience sample of 10 low-income women providing informal care to a frail elder. Half the study sample were women of color. Responses to the core question, "What is taking care of ... like for you?" were analyzed using phenomenologic analysis techniques. A pattern of four interrelated key themes, which describe a transitional process beginning with inevitability of the caregiving role and ending with acquiescence to it, were identified. These data are placed in the political context that surrounds caregiving; such analyses are important both to generate theory and to identify possible points of intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-58
Number of pages15
JournalHolistic Nursing Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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