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Illustration of informal caregiving within Saudi society: demography, scope of care and enabling arrangements

Although informal caregiving is a vital element in the process of supporting individuals with dependency, it is unrecognised most of the time, particularly by caregivers themselves. In Saudi Arabia, little attention has been devoted to informal caregivers; therefore, scarce coverage of this topic is obvious within the literature. This descriptive cross-sectional study was carried to explore informal caregiving within Saudi society by (i) describing informal caregivers and their care recipients and (ii) measuring the scope of care and enabling arrangements in the lives of informal caregivers. Numerical measures of frequency distribution were used to describe the participants and the correlate of demography among 341 female primary caregivers of the elderly (40%), individuals with disabilities (10%) or/and children aged five or younger (51%). Inferential statistics were used to test for significant associations among study variables. The majority of the participants were married with children and were middle-aged. However, the majority of care recipients were living with their caregivers; in addition, they were primarily females cared for by a mother or, less often, by a daughter (in-law). Enabling arrangements were on a moderate level, mainly in healthcare access, financial resources and family support, with lower signs detected in the quality of sleep indicator. These arrangements were significantly associated with caregiver age, education, career status and source of assistance. In conclusion, the statistics revealed by this survey indicated certain challenges that have been encountered by informal caregivers, primarily involving financial and social support. More coverage within the formal system of childcare must be provided to facilitate healthier childhoods. The long-term needs of individuals with dependency must be considered in the planning process of healthcare services, as well, remembering the needs and expectations of informal caregivers.

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Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
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