9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN01 Ageing in Europe

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 The challenge of combining care and employment Building II, C5.06

The challenge of reconciling work and care for an ederly dependent parent: the Portuguese situation

As a general phenomenon in Europe, the ageing population also concerns Portugal. One of the consequences is an increasing number of dependent elderly people due to various chronic diseases. This situation has considerable implications for families, frequently called upon to provide caring tasks. Since the latter are most often provided by women and considering the high rate of female employment in Portugal, how do families face this situation? And how do they experience it?

In this paper, we present the results of a study which is part of an EU network (including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden) on workers caring for dependant elderly persons.

Drawing on qualitative interviews with carers who are in full employment, the main aim of this research is to understand how families manage to reconcile both demanding tasks: employment and caring. Adopting a work life balance perspective, we examine the main difficulties carers have to face and the main care arrangements they set up. Moreover, considering the existing policy responses and services, we also present the formal and informal resources carers rely upon in order to face the conciliation challenge. Finally, focusing on the subjective dimension of the experience we analyse how carers feel and whether and how they experience stress.