This is the eighth paper in the Care Alliance Ireland Discussion Paper series. The papers in this series are not intended to present a definitive account of a particular topic, but to introduce a less-discussed, sensitive or perhaps controversial topic for discussion within the wider community of practitioners, policy makers, researchers and other interested parties. This often takes the form of a literature review (where possible), along with a discussion of views which have been shared with a member of the Care Alliance team either by our member organisations or Family Carers themselves. In some cases this will be a topic which has been raised and shared in the media or social spaces online.
Caring for a “loved one” has long been acknowledged as having real implications for Family Carers’ physical and mental health, along with economic, employment and other impacts. Not all of these impacts, however, are negative. The positive impact of providing care – often significant levels of care – has been well researched.
However, much of this research presupposes that the person being cared for is, indeed, a “loved one”. What happens when the person being cared for isn’t particularly well-loved? How do Family Carers who perhaps do not even like the person they are providing care for deal with the effects of this negative, maybe even toxic, relationship?
This paper focuses on three particular “scenarios” in which Family Carers may need to manage difficult, negative and even toxic relationships while providing care to a family member or friend. These are: