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Stereotypes about caregiving and lessons from the Swedish panorama of care

This article analyzes the panorama of care provision in Sweden from the informal carers' perspective. We consider informal care, publicly financed services, for-profit agencies and voluntary organizations, using a survey conducted in 2009. Most cared-for persons with minor needs living in a separate household are helped also by others, but only a tenth use public services or other providers. About half of cared-for persons with major needs living in a separate household receive care also from other informal carers as well as public services. Only 1 in 10 of them relied on no one else beyond the carer interviewed. Among intra household carers—a minority of all persons cared for—it was common that the carer was alone in his/her commitment, without any contributions from public services or others. For the large majority of informal carers it is not a solitary undertaking as the commitment is often shared with family members and others and/or public services. The results suggest that ideal types about complementarity and substitution may understate the complex interplay between informal care and the public services (and potential other providers). The findings may suggest a need for more empirical research about ‘Care Cultures’ and expose simplistic representations of welfare societies; informal care plays a major—and increasing—role also in Sweden, a country with extensive public services.

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European Journal of Social Work

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Web of science - exported 12/7/2016
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