Family and family-like interactions in households with round-the-clock paid foreign carers in Israel

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This paper reports a study of family and family-like interactions and transfers, or exchanges of goods and resources, between paid, round-the-clock, Filipino home carers and those they care for in a sample of households in Israel. Qualitative interviews about their experiences and attitudes concerning the care role were conducted with 22 family members and 29 Filipino home-care workers. A thematic analysis of the interview data identified three major themes: the structure and internal dynamics of the adapted family or family-like system of care; the role of family members; and the role of Filipino home-care workers in the new system of care. Sons and daughters tended to appropriate the care-management positions and to reduce their social and emotional support for the care recipient. In contrast, spouse care-givers continued to provide some of the personal and emotional care even when a Filipino home-care worker was employed. Filipino home-care workers were made responsible for daily care and domestic routines and provided emotional and social care. It was found that family members do not relinquish their role as care-givers when round-the-clock foreign carers are on hand, but the nature of their role changes. The results suggest that foreign home-care workers' job description needs to be redefined to acknowledge the substantial social and emotional care that they provide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-686
Number of pages16
JournalAgeing and Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development.


  • Exchanges
  • Filial care
  • Formal care
  • Informal care
  • Solidarity


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