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Social Support and Family Care of the Elderly*

  • Benjamin H. Gottlieb (a1)

Abstract

This paper discusses different dimensions of social support which can be examined in the context of family care of the elderly. It calls for a greater measure of theoretical and empirical precision in relating specific types and sources of actual and perceived support to the particular demands and burdens faced by family caregivers at different stages in the course of caregiving. In addition, it spotlights three critical topics for future research: (1) analysis of the ways in which social support affects and is affected by chronic stressors; (2) examination of the determinants of actual and perceived support; and (3) the design and evaluation of interventions aimed to mobilize or augment the support provided to family caregivers.

Cet article traite des différentes facettes du support social dans le contexte de l'aide familiale aux personnes âgées. Il met l'accent sur la nécessité de faire preuve d'une plus grande précision empirique et théorique lorsqu'on rapporte les types spécifiques de réponses symboliques et concrètes aux exigences des aidants familiaux confrontés à de lourdes tâches. Cet article, en outre, met en lumière trois sujets vitaux pour la recherche futur: (1) examiner de quelle façon le soutien social et familial est affecté par ceux qui vivent un stress chronique (et comment il les affecte à leur tour); (2) examiner les déterminants du support familial réel ou possible; (3) établir le cadre général des interventions conçues pour amplifier l'aide assurée aux aidants familiaux et enfin procéder à l'évaluation de ces interventions.

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