Migrant Caregivers of Older People in Spain: Qualitative Insights into Relatives' Experiences

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Apr 24;17(8):2953. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17082953.


The traditional structure of families is undergoing profound changes, causing the so-called "crisis of family care." This study describes the experiences and emotions of the family member who hires migrant caregivers for the older people. This is a qualitative study using a phenomenological design with nine women participants between 53 and 72 years of age. The data collection was carried out through two in-depth interviews and a focus group. There were three major topics: (1) the women in this study recognized that they were not able to take care of the family member directly, due to their responsibilities as female workers and mothers. The fact that migrant caregivers were chosen was conjunctural, where economic reasons were more important. (2) The family members supported the caregivers by teaching them about care and also resolving conflicts produced by culture shock. (3) Trusting the caregiver was a gradual process; the family members felt a complex set of emotions (insecurity, gratitude for the help, moral obligation). In conclusion, they wanted a caregiver who would provide the elder dependent with the love and compassion that they, as daughters, would provide if they had time to do so. The family became the caregiver's managers and assumed the responsibility of training and helping them.

Keywords: caregiver; emotions; experiences; family; migrant; older adults.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caregivers* / psychology
  • Emotions
  • Family Relations*
  • Family*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • Spain