The Ageing Population And The Demand For Social Care Provision

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As the ageing population and the demand for social care provision increases (ARK, 2010), the demand for informal caregiving is becoming an important concern for researchers and policy-makers. The 2011 consensus of Northern Ireland carried out by Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency indicates that out of a population of 1.8 million there are 213,980 informal carers in Northern Ireland, this figure is higher than any other UK jurisdiction; informal care includes looking after fail, ill or disabled family members, friends or partners (NIHRC, 2014). Research undertaken by the University of Leeds found that the economic value of unpaid care in Northern Ireland is at £4.4 billion (NIHRC, 2014). However care can no longer be taken for granted and this notion of the ‘care gap’ has been highlighted due to key demographic, epidemiological and social changes (Hodgkin, 2014). These changes that challenge the informal care system are the ageing population, changes in the family structure and the entry of women in the labour market (Hodgkin, 2014). In addition to demographic changes, there has been a significant body of research with growing interest in the concern for informal caregiver’s social, financial and emotional wellbeing (Hodgkin, 2014). Research findings suggest burnout and the heavy burden on families may lead to aggressive behaviors towards the elderly and even physical and mental abuse (ARK, 2010). The caregiver burden refers to the multi-dimensional challenges of

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