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  • Author or Editor: Barbara Horrell x
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Informal care evolves from an existing relationship with the care recipient. This study aims to understand the relational nature of such care. Six participants caring for a spouse or parent chose their own methods of data collection, including keeping a journal, telephone interviews or face-to-face interviews. Participants drew on personal narratives to reveal different identities, which included a guardian, a partner, a coper, and a campaigner on behalf of the person receiving care. These findings demonstrate how providing good care is part of each carer’s relational identity. Acknowledging the relational nature of care will enable better support for carers.

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In this article, we use the capability approach and Nussbaum’s list of essential capabilities to understand the experiences of people providing (informal) care for older people. Nussbaum’s ten essential capabilities were used as a template to analyse contributions to an online forum created for the research. The carers’ posts indicated they valued these capabilities, though, in some instances, struggled to achieve them in the context of providing care. The capability approach provided a useful framework to move beyond caring as beneficial or burdensome, to view care as valued and as influencing other capabilities among carers for older people.

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