Tasks performed by primary caregivers and migrant live-in homecare workers in Israel

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Esther Iecovich


The issue of migrant live-in homecare workers has been barely addressed in the gerontological literature, in spite of the increase of older persons being cared for by such persons in many Western countries. The purposes of the study are to examine the extent to which migrant live-in homecare workers substitute family caregivers or complement the care that is provided by primary caregivers, and to examine if there are differences in primary caregivers’ involvement in providing help with activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) before and after hiring a migrant live-in homecare worker, by caregivers’ employment status and gender. The data were drawn from a study that included 335 triads (care recipients, their primary caregivers, and their Filipina live-in homecare workers).

The findings show that for the most part primary caregivers continue to play a significant role in providing care, in particular with regard to IADL tasks, even when there is a migrant live-in homecare worker. Several patterns of division of labor between the formal and informal caregivers were identified; that is, in some cases they complement each other while in other cases the migrant live-in homecare workers substitute for the care previously provided by the primary caregivers. Significant differences between male and female caregivers and between working and nonworking caregivers were found with regard to involvement in providing care before and after employment of a migrant homecare worker.


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