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2018 Major Report

From child care to elder care: Findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health

The provision of informal care (that is, unpaid care) to another person is an important and often significant part of women’s lives. Statistics from Australia and countries across the OECD show that over two-thirds of primary caregivers, and over half of all caregivers, are women. In Australia, the economic value of informal care in 2015 was estimated to be over $1 billion per week.

For many women, caregiving roles and responsibilities occur at multiple points along the life course, with these life course variations largely driven by relationships between and within generations. For example, women may care for their own children and grandchildren, care for parents, other family members or friends, and in later decades, care for spouses or partners. Women can provide primary, often higher intensity, care for people living with them or secondary, often lower intensity, care for people living elsewhere. Women often transition in and out of caregiving roles while managing other responsibilities, for example, employment and family life.

This report presents an analysis of the patterns of caregiving by Australian women across the life course using data from women aged from 18 to 97 years, the socio-demographic factors associated with caregiving patterns, and the impact of caregiving on social, employment and health outcomes of caregivers including their health service use. Both quantitative and qualitative data from the ALSWH cohorts have been used.

Launch seminar – Thursday 18th November 2018

Presented by Deputy Director, Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, A/Prof. Leigh Tooth

Tooth L, Loxton D, Chan H, Coombe J, Dobson A, Hockey R, Townsend N, Byles J & Mishra G. From child care to elder care: Findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Report prepared for the Australian Government Department of Health, May 2018.