Wosko, Paulina; Pfabigan, Johanna; Trukeschitz, Birgit; Reitinger, Elisabeth; Pichler, Barbara; Pleschberger, Sabine (2024): Nonkin Carers’ Roles and Contributions to the Support of Older People Living Alone: An Analysis of Qualitative Data. The Journals of Gerontology, 79 (5). gbae008.

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Official URL (please open in a new browser tab/window): https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbae008


In the Global North, the number of older people living alone who have little or no support from family members is increasing. However, little is known about older people living alone who have basic needs for support but do not have kin living nearby or a sustainable relationship to a relative they can rely on. Thus, this paper focuses on the role of nonkin carers and their contribution to the support arrangements of older people living alone.

We conducted semistructured interviews with 32 older people living alone aged between 67 and 99 (Ø 84.2 years) in Austria, 23 women, and 9 men. The interviews were analyzed by applying a coding strategy based on grounded theory. In addition, sociograms were created to illustrate relevant relations in each support arrangement.

We identified and characterized 3 groups of nonkins involved in the support arrangements of older people living alone based on the origins of the relationships: (1) friends, (2) neighbors, and (3) acquaintances like members of various communities. The arrangements were classified according to the amount and quality of involvement of nonkin carers, namely manifold, scattered, and little nonkin involvement.

Our study highlights the diversity of nonkin support in the support arrangements of older people living alone. This heterogeneity should be considered by policy-makers when promoting informal care and designing policy measures.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Informal caregiving, Living arrangements, Qualitative methods, Social networks
Subjects: OEBIG > Gesundheitsberufe und Langzeitpflege
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2024 12:03
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2024 12:03
URI: https://jasmin.goeg.at/id/eprint/3726