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The 'Caring in later life' report: a secondary analysis of the 1995 General Household Survey

Caring in Later Life is a review of the needs and roles of older carers (Milne et al, 2001). It brings together a wide‐ranging review of academic and policy literature with an original meta‐analysis of the 1995 General Household Survey (OPCS, 1995). This paper focuses on the findings of the GHS analysis. The picture of older carers that emerges is significantly different from that of carers overall.It is clear that older carers constitute a large and growing number of the carers and represent an increasingly large proportion of the total number of UK carers. They can be distinguished from other groups of carers in a number of ways: older carers are more likely to live with the person they care for, caring is likely to take place within the context of a long term relationship, dementia is a dominant feature and carers are more likely to be involved in intimate and personal care. Many also have health problems of their own. The analysis confirms a distinction between older carers who offer support on a co‐resident basis and those who are extra resident. There is clearly a high level of devotion to caring amongst many co‐resident carers, with many providing intensive care over long periods of time with little or no support from services. Most of these carers are spouses. The authors suggest that more should and can be done by policy and services to improve the health and quality of life of older carers.

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Quality in Ageing;

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