Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Family studies

Publication Details

Successfully submitted to the Department of Social Sciences, Technological University Dublin in partial fulfilment of the requirement leading to the award of the Masters of Arts in Child, Family and Community Studies. Technological University Dublin, 2014.


Ireland, in keeping with most western societies has witnessed a steady increase in the distribution of old and very old individuals in the population. This, combined with escalations in degenerative and chronic diseases, and together with the development of new sophisticated and portable medical technologies that assist people with highly complicated health conditions to be cared for at home, places further demands on individuals to care for a family member. Furthermore, a fundamental objective of Irish Government policy for older people, children and adults with a condition or a disability is to enable these individuals to live in dignity and independence, in their own homes and communities for as long as they can. Carers are central to the success of this endeavour. As such, it is vital that the experiences of carers and impact of caring are considered.

This study set out to explore, through qualitative, semi-structured interviews, the experiences of individuals who care for a family member and the impact that this has on their lives. Seven participants in this study were full-time family carers, while two further participants worked as family carer support workers and had an abundance of knowledge in this area. The findings relating to the experience of family carers arose under four broad headings:

1. Motivations to care

2. Impact on life

3. Formal support

4. Positive aspects of providing care

From the nine interviews common themes were identified, conclusions were drawn, and recommendations for future research, policy and practice were made.