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His helping hands - adult daughter's perceptions' of fathers with caregiving responsibility

Women's position as informal carers has been taken for granted in social policy and social professions, while relatively few discussions have elaborated on caring as a later life activity for men and the impact on family care. This study explores the processes connected to informal caregiving in later life through the position of adult daughters of older fathers engaged with long-term caregiving responsibilities for a partner. A sample of eight daughters, with fathers having primary caregiving responsibility for their ill partners was recruited and in-depth interviews were carried out and analysed according to qualitative procedures. The daughters' descriptions of their relationships with their fathers show that being an older man who engages in caring can have a positive outcome on relations. Even if some of the daughters have doubts about their fathers “masculine authenticity”, all of them appear to cherish “his helping hands” as a carer and closer more intimate relationships with their fathers. Caring for an old and frail spouse may potentially present alternative ways of being a man beyond traditional ‘male activities’ and that caring might also sometimes involve a re-construction of gender identities. It is suggested that social work professionals may use a gendered understanding to assess and work strategically with daughters and other family members who support caring fathers.

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European Journal of Social Work

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Web of science - exported 12/7/2016
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