Expectations of care within marriage for older couples

Belinda Cash, Jeni Warburton, Suzanne Hodgkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E19-E24
Number of pages6
JournalAustralasian Journal on Ageing
Issue number1
Early online dateOct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

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