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Family caregivers of the elderly: quality of life and coping in Estonia

The purpose of the study was to analyse the assessments of elderly people aged 65 and more about family caregiving as a factor influencing their quality of life and coping. The study is based on the project SUFACARE—‘Supporting family carers and care receivers in Estonia and in Finland’—in the framework of which the Institute of Social Work of Tallinn University carried out postal surveys in 2010. The Estonian survey was conducted in Tallinn and Lääne-Viru County. The total number of respondents was 581 (70% female and 30% male), of whom 98 (n=74 female and n=24 male) were family caregivers. Caregiving has not influenced the physical and mental health of caregivers, the reason being that many people who receive care are not of very ill health or suffer from dementia. People mostly take care of their spouses. Based on the Estonian Family Law Act (RT I 2009, 60, 395), adult descendants are required to provide maintenance if their relatives are not able to care for themselves. Caregivers whose health is below average consider caring to be physically demanding. We cannot speak of the social isolation of respondents who have care duties—they communicate actively and do not feel lonely. Women report caregiving to be physically strenuous more often than men. The mental health of male caregivers is better—fewer male respondents claimed to feel unhappy or depressed compared to female respondents.

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European Journal of Social Work

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Web of science - exported 12/7/2016
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