Family-Friend Care Network among Persons Aged 75 and over in Canada: How Does Marital Status Matter?

Rania Tfaily, Carleton University
Claire M. Noel-Miller, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Informal caregivers are instrumental in providing care for seniors, and this is unlikely to change in the near future given the social, economic, health and fiscal changes. Most previous studies on caregiving to elderly persons tended to focus on spouses and children. In this paper we examine the relationship between marital status and assistance, taking into account all long-term providers and the extent to which each one has provided assistance. We use data from the 2002 Canadian General Social Survey to test the hypothesis that unmarried persons aged 75 and over are disadvantaged vis-à-vis their married counterparts. We look at how the presence of the spouse affects whether and how often children, other family members and friends and neighbors offer care. We also examine the extent to which the relationship between marital status and care receiving differs by gender, immigrant status and ethnicity (Anglophones vs. Francophones).

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Presented in Session 87: Generational Exchanges and Relationships: Adult Children and Elderly Parents