There is little information about the types of social support and content of assistance for informal carers. This article aims to fill this knowledge gap by studying 37 informal carers in a region of the UK. It was found that adult children were the main source of support for older carers regardless of ethnic backgrounds, minority ethnic carers supported their husband to fulfill traditional caring duties by taking care of mother-in-law in the same household. Young carers received support mainly from uncles and aunts to look after sick parents while adult carers obtained information and peer support from the internet. Surprisingly, support from neighbors was limited. Additionally, social support for carers was undermined by the stigmatization of drug and alcohol misuse and mental illness. It is proposed that different types of online support services and appropriate educational programs need to be offered to carers to set up self-help groups and tackle stigmatization associated with health problems. It is suggested that future studies can use a large representative sample to give a comprehensive picture on the contents of informal support for different types of caregivers and the impact of social support on helping informal carers to fulfill their duties.
Bibliographical noteThe authors would like to thank for Nottinghamshire County Council for its financial support for this research project.
- Informal carers
- community support network
- online support
- social support