3. Families or organisations? Formal and informal systems of support. Overview of lecture. 1. Informal support at home Primary or informal groups: Families, households, neighbours and friends. ABS, Broad evidence of need for care – disability- and support patterns.
3.Families or organisations? Formal and informal systems of support
1. Informal support at home
2. Feminist perspectives on informal care.
3. Formal support
4. Litwak’s view of complimentary structures and functions.
Informal Support: often called ‘Primary Groups’ (after Cooley, 1909)
M. Bittman and J. Pixley (1997) The Double Life of the Family. Allen and Unwin, St Leonards. (See also SOC315 – The Intimate Sphere; GEN320 ‘Family Values’ in the 21st century)
ABS, 2006: One in five people in Australia (3,958,300 or 20%) had a reported disability in 2003
http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4430.0Main+Features12003?OpenDocument (ABS, 2006)
‘First wave’ feminist rejection of traditional assumptions about the women and the family, including that:
[Married] ‘women acquire a set of domestic duties which include caring for their children, their elderly or sick relatives and, of course, their husbands’. (Hilary Land, 1978: 360)
Brody, E. (1981) ‘Women in the middle and family help to older people’ The Gerontologist 26: 373-81
1981 the Association of Carers (for all carers regardless of gender, marital status or the age or disability of the person they were caring for) was formed
1982 organisation retitled The National Council for Carers and their Elderly Dependants - but by then the term carer was in widespread use.
Australia: Clare Stephenson, 1976 ‘Dedication’ NSW COA
ABS, 2003:Disability, Ageing and Carers.
How is it provided?
The roles and functions of primary groups and formal organisations.
Support functions vary between informal groups and formal sources of support.
SpontaneousDeliberate, planned, routine
Unskilled – experienceProfessional – formal expertise
Generally long-termGenerally time-limited
Multi-facettedSpecific intervention (instrumental)
Litwak argues that ‘Groups will most effectively handle those tasks that are consistent with their structure’ (1985: 36)
Therefore sees complementarity between informal groups and formal organisations and professionals.
Links between formal and informal support – other ways of thinking about support.