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The experience of family care-givers and migrant paid care-givers' relief of burden: a contrasted qualitative analysis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 February 2013

Department of Health Psychology, University of Alicante, Spain.
Evidence-based Practice Research Centre, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK. Personal Social Services Research Unit, University of Manchester, UK.
Address for correspondence: Carmen de la Cuesta-Benjumea, Department of Health Psychology, University of Alicante, Ap 99, 03080 Alicante, Spain. E-mail:


Older people are increasingly being cared for in the community across Europe. Dependent care in Spain largely remains a private issue involving family carers and migrant women from developing countries. Qualitative research on respite care has contributed to our understanding of respite as a subjective experience. Nonetheless, how care-givers relieve the burden of care is still not fully understood. Migrant care-givers are present in family life but their need for rest remains unseen. The aim of the study presented in this paper was to contrast family care-givers and migrant care-givers' strategies for relief from their caring role. Care-givers rest by thinking, doing and being but in a different manner from that of care-giving, that is: when they are a different person. To leave the life of care-giving is the general strategy that family care-givers use to rest from their care-giving selves while turning to one's own world describes the way migrant care-givers seek to relieve the burden of care. The comparative analysis shows that both strategies have in common the necessity to disconnect from the care-giving identity and that both migrant and family care-givers employ strategies that are false exits to a care-giving identity: they apparently relieve the burden of care. Respite goes beyond places, times and activities; as family care itself, it requires identity.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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