Expectations of care within marriage for older couples Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES:This study explores the intersection of marriage and caregiving amongst older spousal caregivers in regional Australia. Specifically, we address the research question: 'How do expectations of informal care impact spousal caregivers in later life?' METHODS:These comprise interpretive qualitative in-depth interviews in order to understand the lived experience of caregiving within the context of long-term marriage. RESULTS:Findings highlight the complexity and diversity of marital relationships as the context of informal care. Individual and social obligations were evident in key themes, demonstrating how spouses automatically assume and continue in caregiver roles in later life. CONCLUSION:Caregiving is an expectation of couples in long-term marriages, regardless of the relationship quality and willingness to care. Normative expectations also impact decision-making around future care planning and transitions away from home-based care. These are important considerations for both policy and practice with older adults and their caregivers.

publication date

  • 2019