Older Carers: Bonding, bridging & linkingwith social capital Wendy Stone Presentation to Older Carers’ Forum 5 August 2003, Melbourne
Demographic, social & policy context Demographic change • Ageing of the Australian population • Increasing diversity of older population • Smaller family units Societal and community change • Move towards greater home-based care • Community self-provisioning and self-reliance Policy and practice context • Towards greater recognition of needs of older carers • Social capital as part of support framework
Today’s talk 1. About ‘social capital’ • What is meant by social capital? • Bonding, bridging and linking relationships • Who has social capital? 2. Social capital in supporting older carers • Key issues for older carers 3. Making social capital happen • How we act matters • Building social capital into what we do & future directions
About social capital Social capital can be understood as networks of trust and reciprocity that can lead to outcomes of mutual benefit. • Social capital is a term that describes good quality social relationships. • Social capital can exist within and between families, friends, neighbours, communities, services and other organisations. • Social capital can link individuals, families and communities. • Social capital can lead to a range of positive outcomes.
A social capital framework • ‘Bonding’ social capital (the informal realm)Close ties that help people to get by. These are usually with family, friends and neighbours. • ‘Bridging’ social capital(the civic realm)Weaker ties that can help people get ahead and gain opportunities. Usually with people who are different from themselves, who have different types of networks. • ‘Linking’ social capital(the institutional realm)Links to organisations and systems that can help people gain resources and bring about broader change.
Access to social capital • Individuals, families and communities can have a different ‘mix’ of bonding, bridging and linking social capital • The distribution of social capital within a community can be uneven • Different mixes of social capital can lead to different types of outcomes: Having the right ‘mix’ of social capital can lead to empowerment, can help people to manage their lives, achieve change, and can lead to community cohesion. Having low levels of social capital can result in low cooperation, obstacles to change, and social isolation.
Who has social capital? • We talked with around 1,500 Australians about their lives, relationships and communities • We found people have very different mixes of social capital - social capital ‘types’ • Having different mixes of social capital is related to other factors such as family life, education, ethnicity, health, financial wellbeing, types of neighbourhoods and local areas Social capital can relate to existing inequalities Social capital varies across the life course
For older carers… Social capital is a resource: • Links with family, friends & neighbours, civic groups and institutions (including services) are each important for managing day to day caring Social capital can assist wellbeing: • Risks of social isolation may be increased among the older carer population, and be associated with deterioration in mental health, physical health and general wellbeing Services a conduit to social capital: • Through service contact, other bonds can be facilitated; services become a critical point for connection
Making social capital happen: how we act matters Social capital is facilitated by: • Time and resources • Commitment • Being inclusive • Sharing power and responsibility • Being local • Having respect • Being trustworthy Having a ‘social capital rich’ service network
An illustration: social capital in practice ‘Bonding, bridging and linking provide us with a framework for assessing our current work and where we might change our approach in order to meet our objective of building social capital. Historically, we’ve been reasonably good in the area of bonding - about strengthening the bonds with families and a close network through our services. Now we’re increasingly looking to see how we can create more bridges and links for individuals, families and communities...
Social capital in practice… …Within this social capital and community engagement framework we can begin to ask whether our work is: • Creating trust? • Increasing the networks enjoyed by individuals and families? • Building opportunities for civic participation? • Facilitating cross-institutional co-operation?’ (Hampshire and Smeaton 2001 - The Benevolent Society)
Fonte: • http://www.aifs.org.au/institute/pubs/papers/stone7.ppt