9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN16 Sociology of Health and Illness

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 Social and Health Issues Related to Ageing Death and/or Dying Building I, 1E2

Care of parents and care regimes

Elderly people are predominantly cared for by family members. However, not every parent in need is cared for by family members, and family care varies widely across Europe. A number of studies have focused on care regimes to explain these differences. However, family care has never been traced back directly to the welfare state provision of care, legal obligations towards family members and norms of responsibility. Our presentation, therefore, deals with individual and family structures on the one hand, and welfare state regulations and cultural norms on the other. Which factors influence the provision of care? Do European countries differ in regard to intergenerational care, and what are the reasons for these differences? Logistic multilevel models are applied to answer these questions. The empirical analyses, based on the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland), show that various factors influence care by children: individual characteristics of parents and children, family structures and cultural-contextual factors, including welfare institutions and cultural norms. Intergenerational help occurs more often in family-based care regimes, e.g. Southern and Central European countries, where children are legally obliged to support parents and norms of family responsibility in elderly care are strong. At the same time, in service-based care regimes, e.g. Northern welfare states, professional home care services enable adult children to pursue their personal plans beyond care obligations.