Caring for a parent while working for pay in the German welfare regime

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Wolfgang Keck
Chiara Saraceno

Abstract

This article presents the results of a study that addresses the strategies adopted by adult children in employment who bear the main care responsibility for a frail parent. The context of the study is the resources and constraints offered and imposed, respectively, by long-term care policies in Germany. The empirical part is based on 34 in-depth interviews conducted in winter 2007-2008 in Berlin and Brandenburg. Five different care arrangements emerge at the interfaces of family resources and constraints, paid work demands, other family demands and policy options. These represent different ways of dealing with the interference that can occur between work and care, and other dimensions of personal and family life. In the conclusion, against the background of the research findings, the authors discuss the role of the German policy framework for long-term care in terms of its efficacy in providing adequate care and in easing work amily tensions in a context characterised by unequal private resources.

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