Publication details for Mrs Ethna ParkerParker, Ethna. & Hamill, Conal. (2011). Up close and personal: A qualitative study exploring the lived experience of older carers. Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Research and Practice 8(1): 15-29.
- Publication type: Journal papers: professional
- ISSN/ISBN: 1743-6885
- Keywords: Older Carers, Informal Care, Qualitative Research, Participatory Methodologies,Carer Involvement.
- View online: Online version
- Durham research online: DRO record
Author(s) from Durham
This study explored the experiences of informal carers who were aged 65 years and over. It
has been estimated that 15 per cent of those aged 65 or over provide some form of informal
care in England. Despite a growing literature on the involvement of older people in research,
there is a paucity of literature on the involvement of older carers. In this study, older carers
were identified via a General Practice (GP) register in one urban medical practice. Data was
collected through a series of focus groups, which were transcribed and analysed using
thematic analysis. Every carer aged 55 or over and registered with the medical practice was
invited to take part in the study. Four female carers and one male carer took part in the study
(age range 65-83). Themes that emerged during data analysis included, 1) managing things in
an emergency, 2) feeling valued because they took part in the research and 3) the day-to-day
reality of living with social exclusion. GP registers provide a valuable tool for identifying older
carers who may otherwise be difficult to engage in research. However, persuading GPs to
engage with qualitative research may be a challenge.
Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Research and Practice is a joint publication between South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust and the University of Huddersfield.