Spatial Trends of unpaid caregiving in Ireland

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Last Updated: 15-02-2016 1:03

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Demographic changes in Europe, otherwise known as increases in the size of the very elderly population, mean that the number and proportion of people in need of assistance with everyday activities is expected to increase considerably in coming decades. Nowadays, most of this assistance is provided by voluntary caregivers, predominantly close relatives. There is an increasing need for statutory authorities to work with and support these caregivers. In fact, caregivers support not only elderly people but also those with a long-term illness, health problem or disability, regardless of age. The number of elderly people is predicted to increase dramatically in the future due to population ageing. Ireland has a relatively younger population compared to other western European countries due to high birth rates (CSO, 2004). However, it is important to raise these issues (of population ageing) and plan for those days when an aged society will be a fact. We believe that there is a strong geographical element in the study of voluntary care giving. In this paper we examine the spatial distribution of unpaid care providers, the disabled and the elderly people. We aim to identify areas of high and low probability of provision of voluntary (domestic) care to the people in need.

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