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Welfare reform on the Web (April 2007): Care of the elderly - overseas

Can a publicly funded home care system successfully allocate service based on perceived need rather than socioeconomic status? A Canadian experience

A. Laporte, R. Croxford and P.C. Coyte

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol.15, 2007, p. 108-119

Canada has begun to shift the site of care provision from hospital to home in order to control costs as the baby boom generation approaches retirement. In this present paper, the authors investigate the degree to which an individual’s socioeconomic status is likely to affect utilisation of publicly funded home care in Ontario. They consider use along two dimensions: propensity and intensity. Propensity refers to the probability that an individual receives service, whereas intensity refers to the amount of service received. Results showed that people living in deprived neighbourhoods were more likely to use publicly funded home care, and used more of it, than those from affluent areas. This is consistent with the stated intent of Canadian healthcare policy. However, barriers to access were identified for people from areas with a high proportion of recent immigrants.

Cash for care in developed welfare states

C. Ungerson and S. Yeandle (editors)

Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2007

The book draws together the latest findings on the different arrangements for care provision for older people in seven countries: the UK, Austria, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and the USA. In the past decade, these countries have all adopted policies that offer some elderly care users the opportunity to receive cash payments instead of services. The elderly are then encouraged to employ personal assistants to provide them with caring services. The book explores the policy background, demographic circumstances, implementation arrangements and rules and regulations applied in each of the seven countries in order to develop a better understanding of the implications of this development in the delivery of long-term care.

Changing intergenerational solidarities within families in a Mediterranean welfare state: elderly care in Italy

B. Da Roit

Current Sociology, vol.55, 2007, p. 251-269

Traditionally, elderly people in Italy have been cared for by their families, mainly through the unpaid work of female relations. Recently, the decline in the availability of informal family carers has led to the growth of commercial services mostly provided by migrant women hired by families in the grey market. This article is based on qualitative research that explored the social processes underlying these changes. It suggests that intergenerational solidarity is still crucial, but is expressed less through the direct provision of care and more through the supervision of paid workers.

Families caring across borders: migration, ageing and transnational caregiving

L. Baldassar, C. Vellekoop Baldock and R. Wilding

Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2007

The book provides an ethnographic account of migrants and refugees who live in Australia and their experiences and practices of transnational caregiving of parents in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and New Zealand. It contributes detailed knowledge of how people respond to a world characterised by unprecedented mobility – both voluntary and forced – globalised job markets and an ageing population, as increasing numbers of families find themselves spread across the globe and caring for elderly parents from a distance.

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