Family caregivers: Russian-speaking Australian women's access to welfare support

Victoria Team, Milica Markovic, Lenore Hilda Manderson

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11 Citations (Scopus)


In Australia, rapid population ageing, and government efforts to support people who are chronically ill, elderly or with disabilities to live in their own homes, has led to the primary responsibility of care being undertaken by families. Through its social policies, the Australian government provides income and other types of support to informal caregivers. This article explores how Australian social policy and women s understanding of their roles impact on their access to welfare support. Qualitative research was conducted in Melbourne between February and June 2006. In-depth interviews were undertaken with eight Russian-speaking women involved in caregiving, purposively recruited through ethnic associations, and with four community service providers. Women based their expectations of the gendered and private nature of their role on the social policies in countries of their origin and, hence, did not attempt to access welfare support unless they were referred by health and welfare professionals. In addition, poor referral by professionals, influenced by past societal attitudes that caregiving is a gendered role, contributed to women s limited access to welfare benefits. Changes in the implementation of social policy are proposed to increase caregivers access to welfare support and efficient utilisation of existing resources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397 - 406
Number of pages10
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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