Editorial

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Sue Yeandle University of Sheffield, UK

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Welcome to Volume 8, Issue 1 of the International Journal of Care and Caring. This first issue of 2024 brings together nine peer-reviewed articles from authors based in, or writing about, Australia, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Trinidad and Tobago, the UK, New Zealand, and the US. We also bring you two contributions, from Spain and the UK, in our ‘Debates and issues’ section, plus reviews of two books that explore care from comparative and global perspectives, contributed by international contributors, and of a recent international conference on care.

In ‘Informal care trajectories over the lifecourse in the Netherlands’, contributors from Radboud University in the Netherlands, (Ellen Verbakel, Mark Visser and Klara Raiber (2024), report the results of a latent profile analysis study based on all caring episodes that almost one thousand respondents reported ever having experienced. From these data, they identify four ‘informal care trajectories’ that they refer to as ‘one-time partner’, ‘mid-aged parental’, ‘serial’ and ‘lifelong’. The authors explore differences between these groups in felt obligation, intensity and task complexity, drawing on conceptual work by Keating et al.

Our next article, ‘Potential of carers to meet care needs among older persons with disabilities in Trinidad’, by Bephyer Parey (University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago) (2024) is based on quantitative data collected from a large, nationally representative sample of Trinidadians, plus qualitative data on factors that affect what Parey calls ‘potential to care for older adults with disabilities’ in Trinidad. Focusing on ‘willingness, availability and skills’, Parey concludes that while most Trinidadians (68 per cent) were ‘willing’ to care for older relatives with disabilities, only a smaller share were ‘available’ to do so (42 per cent) or felt they had the skills needed to provide care (31 per cent). She considers how various factors – personal views, potential of social network and competency – contributed to these results, concluding that targeted support, such as skills training, is needed, particularly for people in different ethnic groups and for older carers.

Our next contribution, ‘Implementing England’s Care Act 2014: was the Act a success and when will we know?’, is the first of four articles in the issue by UK-based authors. Emily Burn and Catherine Needham (both University of Birmingham), Sam Redgate (Northumbria University) and Stephen Peckham (University of Kent) (2024) discuss a major change to the law on adults with support needs in England and their carers, heralded at the time as potentially transformative in its consequences. Using established ‘policy endurance’ criteria, they emphasise the importance of assessing effectiveness at multiple time points. They find that despite early success in ‘implementation readiness’, during the years that followed, several important commitments were abandoned or diluted. They conclude nevertheless that the Act’s foundational principles (well-being, prevention and capping the private costs of care) continue to shape care policy in England, much as its original advocates hoped.

Next, co-authors Katharine Orellana, Kritika Samsi, Jill Manthorpe and Caroline Green (2024) at King’s College London provide ‘Priorities for day centre support and research, and the importance of centralised supportive information for day centres and their stakeholders’. Their article draws on a 2021 survey conducted to explore perspectives highlighted by the closure of day centres for adults and older people in England during the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings of the survey include the importance many stakeholders attach to evidence on how the centres can be operated sustainably and effectively, and in ways that support the workforce. The authors conclude that providing evidence that appeals to service funders is particularly difficult for centres for older people and for people living with dementia.

The following article, ‘The experience of working carers of older people: a qualitative diary study’, by Winnie Wing Yee Lam, Karina Nielsen and Ciara M. Kelly (University of Sheffield, UK) (2024) deepens understanding of working carers’ experiences using an analysis of their caring activities. The authors used a method in which carers from the UK and Hong Kong completed daily diaries that were then analysed using cognitive appraisal theory to explore how resources affect carers’ responses. The article offers a distinctive conceptualisation of care activities and considers the implications of cognitive appraisals and resources in the experience of combining work and care.

The fourth of this issue’s articles concerned with UK policy and practice is by Jackie Gulland (University of Edinburgh) (2024). In ‘How does Carer’s Allowance in the UK construct family carers? History and recent developments’, Gulland describes the historical origins and development (from the 1970s) of Carer’s Allowance, including recent proposals for changes to it in Scotland. She concludes that eligibility criteria for its receipt construct carers as people of ‘working age’ who provide care within dyadic relationships. These criteria, she argues, exclude people with complex or interdependent caring relationships. The allowance, she points out, reinforces the role of gendered families as the main providers of care and of disabled people as dependent; it offers a mainly symbolic recognition of caring and gives carers only minimal financial support.

Following this focus on care policy and practice in the UK, we turn to other areas of the world, with three contributions that focus on care in Australia, in New Zealand, and in the US.

We go first to New Zealand. In ‘Balancing sleeping with guardianship: narratives of sleep during informal dementia care’, Rosemary Gibson, Amy Helm, Isabelle Ross and Philippa Gander (all Massey University, New Zealand) and Mary Breheny (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand) (2024) begin by noting existing evidence that sleep is often compromised in dementia care. Their study, based on retrospective interviews with 20 carers about sleep changes during dementia care, produced sleep-related accounts focused on carers’ experiences and needs. The authors identify interactive narratives (‘sleep as a sacrifice’), tensions between identities (being a ‘sleeper’ versus being a ‘guardian’) and ‘sleep as a luxury’. They conclude by arguing that acknowledging sleep as a sociological practice can enhance understanding of carers’ experiences and support needs.

In a further contribution focused on unpaid carers, this time from Australia, Nicole Halim, Rosa Comi and Rebecca J. Mitchell (Macquarie University) (2024) present an integrative review of facilitators and barriers to resilience among carers. The authors find that despite increasing awareness of the challenges carers face, few studies focus on identifying factors that contribute to resilience among carers. Their integrative review draws on studies identified in a search of multiple databases for articles (published 2000–21) that considered facilitators and barriers to resilience among carers. Facilitators included carers having adequate social support and personal time and remaining positive; barriers included lack of social support, adopting a negative outlook and experiencing family conflict or financial instability.

Our final peer-reviewed article in this issue, by authors based in the US, is ‘Lying as a moral choice: an examination of moral reasons for lying in dementia relationships’, by Amy E. Hodel (Huntington University) and Sarah E. Barron and Anca M. Miron (both University of Wisconsin Oshkosh) (2024). The authors studied 60 young adults’ responses to vignettes presenting moral dilemmas experienced in caring interactions with a family member with dementia. Four types of reasons for deceiving (or not) such a person were identified: ‘care reasons’ (improving the welfare of the person with dementia), ‘justice reasons’ (universal principles), ‘care-for-others reasons’ (protecting the welfare of others) and ‘relationship reasons’ (maintaining the relationship). Care reasons and care-for-others reasons positively predicted moral decisions to lie, whereas justice reasons and relationship reasons negatively predicted these decisions. The findings highlight the importance of understanding motives in cases of deception within dementia relationships.

In our ‘Debates and issues’ section, we include first ‘Developing a framework for reflection on policy-relevant care research using a study of older adults’ food and drink care-related needs’, by Stacey Rand and Alan Dargan (both University of Kent), Lavinia Bertini (Brighton and Sussex Medical School), Monique Raats (University of Surrey) and Rebecca Sharp (National Institute for Health and Care Research Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex). The authors explore challenges associated with public, professional and policy engagement in a study of the food and drink care-related needs of older community-dwelling adults. They argue that the framework they use could be applied to other studies geared towards planning knowledge exchange, impact and engagement activities.

In ‘The right to care: a proposal from feminist perspectives for a constitutional reform in Spain’, Ana Marrades-Puig (University of Valencia) highlights the vulnerability of the human being and the importance of care within the framework of a social state. Reflecting on recent experiences in Spain and on how the COVID-19 crisis brought pre-existing inequalities more sharply into view, she argues that families and the state must address care in a co-responsible manner. She discusses this in the context of contemporary constitutional reform in Spain, including text that includes the right to care and the rights of carers.

We are also very grateful to the contributors to this issue’s reviews section: Shunqi Zhang (University of Manchester, UK) who reviews Ageing and the Crisis in Health and Social Care: Global and National Perspectives by Bethany Simmonds (Bristol University Press, 2021); Maria Nilsson (Linnaeus University, Sweden) who reviews Care Technologies for Ageing Societies: An International Comparison, edited by Kate Hamblin and Matthew Lariviere (Policy Press, 2023); and Gabriela Gallardo Lastra (University of Groningen, the Netherlands), who reports on the ‘Transforming Care Conference 2023: boundaries, transitions and crisis contexts’, held 26–28 June 2023 in Sheffield, UK.

As always, we extend our sincere thanks to all contributors to the journal, to the journal’s editorial and production teams, to our many anonymous, diligent and supportive peer reviewers, and to the journal’s Editorial Advisory Board. Your contributions make the journal possible; we thank you also for your commitment to its international goals and to wider understanding of the central importance of care and caring all around the world.

Funding

The author received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Conflict of interest

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest.

References

  • Burn, E., Redgate, S., Needham, C. and Peckham, S. (2024) Implementing England’s Care Act 2014: was the Act a success and when will we know?, International Journal of Care and Caring, 8(1): 4763. doi: 10.1332/239788221X16916503736939

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  • Gibson, R., Helm, A., Ross, I., Gander, P. and Breheny, M. (2024) Balancing sleeping with guardianship: narratives of sleep during informal dementia care, International Journal of Care and Caring, 8(1): 114129. doi: 10.1332/239788221X16613777827869

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gulland, J. (2024) How does Carer’s Allowance in the UK construct family carers? History and recent developments, International Journal of Care and Caring, 8(1): 98113. doi: 10.1332/239788221X16716339335353

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Halim, N., Comi, R. and Mitchell, R. (2024) An integrative review of facilitators and barriers to resilience among informal unpaid caregivers, International Journal of Care and Caring, 8(1): 130177. doi: 10.1332/239788221X16825359407198

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hodel, A.E., Barron, S.E. and Miron, A.M. (2024) Lying as a moral choice: an examination of moral reasons for lying in dementia relationships, International Journal of Care and Caring, 8(1): 178198. doi: 10.1332/23978821Y2023D000000005

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lam, W.W.Y., Nielsen, K. and Kelly, C.M. (2024) The experience of working informal carers of older people: a qualitative diary study, International Journal of Care and Caring, 8(1): 8297. doi: 10.1332/239788221X16745596718955

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Orellana, K., Samsi, K., Manthorpe, J. and Green, C. (2024) Priorities for day centre support and research, and the importance of centralised supportive information for day centres and their stakeholders, International Journal of Care and Caring, 8(1): 6481. doi: 10.1332/239788221X16917415568825

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Parey, B. (2024) Potential of carers to meet care needs among older adults with disabilities in Trinidad, International Journal of Care and Caring, 8(1): 2646. doi: 10.1332/23978821Y2023D000000017

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Verbakel, E., Visser, M. and Raiber, K. (2024) Informal care trajectories over the lifecourse in the Netherlands, International Journal of Care and Caring, 8(1): 625. doi: 10.1332/239788221X16890880355113

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Burn, E., Redgate, S., Needham, C. and Peckham, S. (2024) Implementing England’s Care Act 2014: was the Act a success and when will we know?, International Journal of Care and Caring, 8(1): 4763. doi: 10.1332/239788221X16916503736939

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gibson, R., Helm, A., Ross, I., Gander, P. and Breheny, M. (2024) Balancing sleeping with guardianship: narratives of sleep during informal dementia care, International Journal of Care and Caring, 8(1): 114129. doi: 10.1332/239788221X16613777827869

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gulland, J. (2024) How does Carer’s Allowance in the UK construct family carers? History and recent developments, International Journal of Care and Caring, 8(1): 98113. doi: 10.1332/239788221X16716339335353

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Halim, N., Comi, R. and Mitchell, R. (2024) An integrative review of facilitators and barriers to resilience among informal unpaid caregivers, International Journal of Care and Caring, 8(1): 130177. doi: 10.1332/239788221X16825359407198

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hodel, A.E., Barron, S.E. and Miron, A.M. (2024) Lying as a moral choice: an examination of moral reasons for lying in dementia relationships, International Journal of Care and Caring, 8(1): 178198. doi: 10.1332/23978821Y2023D000000005

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lam, W.W.Y., Nielsen, K. and Kelly, C.M. (2024) The experience of working informal carers of older people: a qualitative diary study, International Journal of Care and Caring, 8(1): 8297. doi: 10.1332/239788221X16745596718955

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Orellana, K., Samsi, K., Manthorpe, J. and Green, C. (2024) Priorities for day centre support and research, and the importance of centralised supportive information for day centres and their stakeholders, International Journal of Care and Caring, 8(1): 6481. doi: 10.1332/239788221X16917415568825

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Parey, B. (2024) Potential of carers to meet care needs among older adults with disabilities in Trinidad, International Journal of Care and Caring, 8(1): 2646. doi: 10.1332/23978821Y2023D000000017

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Verbakel, E., Visser, M. and Raiber, K. (2024) Informal care trajectories over the lifecourse in the Netherlands, International Journal of Care and Caring, 8(1): 625. doi: 10.1332/239788221X16890880355113

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
Sue Yeandle University of Sheffield, UK

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