What is informal care and what is its status in Chile? Is there scientific evidence on this? Learn the answers to these questions in this article based on the presentation of MICARE Director Claudia Miranda, at the 8th UNAB Scientific Culture Conference.
By Gabriela Campillo.
“Informal care of elderly people in Chile: evidence and pending challenges”, was the title of the talk given by Dr. Claudia Miranda, director of our MICARE Institute and academic of Universidad Andrés Bello (UNAB), as part of the 8th UNAB Scientific Culture Conference.
The activity took place virtually on July 7, 2021, and was broadcast live on YouTube, along with scientist and communicator Gabriel León.
What is informal care?
Informal care is when a person, usually a family member or friend, provides assistance and support to another person with some degree of dependency, without financial remuneration and usually without formal training.
It’s a complex, multifactorial phenomenon involving several stakeholders: the elderly person, the caregiver, the family, the community, and the institutions.
What is the profile of informal carers in Chile?
There is no abundance of evidence in this regard, as our director Claudia Miranda explains, but there are things we do know:
- The majority of informal caregivers are women, with an average age of 56 years.
- 44.5% are the daughters or sons of the people they care for, and 33.6% are their partners.
- 43.4% have completed primary education or less, and only 15.4% have completed higher education.
- Only one-third of caregivers report having a paid job.
Women: main carers of people with dementia
“There are currently estimated to be about 250,000 people with dementia, and we know that behind these people are families,” says MICARE’s director, warning that this prevalence is on the rise.
This reality has a high social cost.
How can we improve caregivers’ quality of life?
The scarcity of social support, negative effects on mental health, and high work overload are some examples of the impact of caregiving on informal caregivers.
To address this problem, the director of MICARE lists some psychosocial interventions that have been shown to produce positive effects:
- Respite time (replacement of caregiving duties)
- Training and management of behavioral and psychological symptoms of the person with dementia
- Case management by professionals who monitor the needs of the “caregiver/cared-for person” dyad and refer to appropriate health care services
- Support groups
- Psychotherapy, among others.
Relive the full presentation here:
Want to know more? We invite you to read more in this article published by Universidad Andrés Bello.