Helpful citizens and caring families: Patterns of informal help and caregiving in Sweden in a 17-year perspective

Authors


Magnus Jegermalm, Ersta Sköndal University College, PO Box 441 SE-128 06 Sköndal, Sweden. E-mail: magnus.jegermalm@esh.se

Abstract

Jegermalm M, Grassman EJ. Helpful citizens and caring families: patterns of informal help and caregiving in Sweden in a 17-year perspective

This article reports on an analysis of informal help and caregiving in Sweden with, for the first time, a focus on patterns of change over 17 years regarding scope, type of caregivers and the recipients of help. The discussion is based on results from a national survey repeated four times between 1992 and 2009. In the 1990s, the figures were stable, but from the late 1990s to 2009, there seems to have been a dramatic increase in the extent of informal help giving. Concerning types of helpers, the patterns implied involvement not only from family members, but also from other types of helpers. Two interpretative perspectives were used in the analysis: the first from recent welfare state changes and the substitution argument; the second from the present debate on civil society and its possible and changing role. These perspectives represent two partly complementary approaches to the understanding of the dynamics of informal involvement in contemporary Swedish society.

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