“It’s More than Just Needing money”: The Value of Supporting Networks of Care
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It is well established in research, practice, and policy that unpaid caregivers (family and friends of people with care needs) experience stress in their role. Supports that have been put in place by policy planners and program developers to support caregivers may not be accessed by caregivers at all or may do little to reduce their stress. Accessing personal resources (education, finances), in addition to social resources (individual connections) and societal resources (community supports) are critical in fostering resilience in caregivers (helping them adapt to stress and adversity). Social capital theorists argue that creating connections at various levels can improve access to resources. This research, through qualitative interviews (n = 21), identifies the different levels of resources required to address the needs of caregivers. Our findings indicate that interventions that focus on access to personal-level resources (education, funding) are important, but are on their own insufficient. Of more importance were interventions that work to improve relationships between formal providers and families; access to interdisciplinary teams; cross-sectoral collaborations; and inter-organization relationships, highlighting that a system that works together is likely to improve caregivers' access to resources.
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