Formal caregivers of frail elderly: Nonprofessional homecare workers who live with their clients

Eileen Ruth Chichin, Fordham University


Families have traditionally provided care to their frail elderly members living in the community. However, demographic and economic changes have caused an increase in the number of dependent older people, and a decrease in the number and availability of informal caregivers who had previously assumed their care. As a result, a formal system of paid home care has evolved. This study examined one component of the home care system: non-professional workers who live with their clients. A sample of twenty-four hour live-in workers (N = 44) was compared to a sample of non-professional homecare workers who did not live in (N = 262) to determine whether live-in workers experienced more strain in their job situation than their counterparts who returned home at the conclusion of the workday. In addition, it examined other variables related to living with one's client. The living situation of the worker was found to have no relationship to job strain, although live-in workers were older, cared for frailer clients, and were less likely to have a personal support system than non-live-in workers. It is suggested that perhaps the relationship that develops between the live-in workers and their clients may mediate strain, or that other factors inherent in living with one's client (i.e., the provision of housing) may compensate for its negative characteristics.

Subject Area

Social work|Gerontology

Recommended Citation

Chichin, Eileen Ruth, "Formal caregivers of frail elderly: Nonprofessional homecare workers who live with their clients" (1989). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9015944.