My Days in Solitary Confinement: The Plight of Older Immigrant Caregivers

When politicians coldly debate “cuts” to various health support services, such as Medicare and Medicaid, many of them do not realize or care that they are adding to the stressful burdens of millions of Americans who sacrifice their lives to help a spouse, or parent, or some other loved one who needs a helping hand. Approximately one quarter of the US population has at least one chronic condition, many of these are elders who need care and assistance. In the United States alone between 30 and 38 million adults provide regular ongoing care for a family member or loved one. The stressors and burdens of caregiving have a negative impact on the health and well-being of aging care givers. Most caregivers are female with an average age of sixty-nine. The burdens of providing care can be overwhelming. Caregiving stress has been shown to result in a variety of physical and psychological concerns such as chronic anxiety, depression, and loneliness. This qualitative study explores the stressors and burdens of immigrant caregivers.

Inequality in Living Conditions among Danish State Pensioners

The object of this article is to analyze if and how economic differences between state pensioners manifest as inequalities in actual living conditions among state pensioners. This is analyzed quantitatively using descriptive statistics, and findings are controlled for relevant variables via regression analysis. The data sources are registry data on the gross population of 841,246 Danish state pensioners merged with survey data on 4,800 state pensioners. The analysis of living conditions of the 10 percent with the lowest income and the 10 percent with the highest income in addition to the state pension shows that the low income group is doing worse on all aspects of living conditions: marital status, composition of household, housing, education, well-being, loneliness, unwillingly alone, social relations, health, level of function, evaluation of economy, and deprivations. These findings of inequality are contextualized within the 1980s pension reforms which changed the economic configuration between state pensioners.

Whose Right to a “Reasonable Level of Living”? Spouses with Differing Care Needs in Swedish Nursing Homes

In Sweden, eligibility to move to a nursing home is usually based on an individual needs assessment. In 2012, an amendment to the Social Services Act was enacted, giving persons with residential care the right to live with a spouse in the nursing home, even if the spouse is relatively healthy and does not need nursing care. In this article, two contrasting case studies of cohabiting couples are presented. These case studies are based on field observations and qualitative interviews with the couples and staff in two nursing homes in two Swedish municipalities. The article shows that local municipal guidelines, establishing who has the right to help and care, affect the ways that both the staff and the couple talk about the spouse’s rights and roles as a coresident in the nursing home. In the two cases, there were also different staff attitudes about the spouse’s need for support in the role as spousal caregiver.