Family Caregivers as Employers of Migrant Live-In Care Workers: Experiences and Policy Implications

J Aging Soc Policy. 2023 Aug 1:1-19. doi: 10.1080/08959420.2023.2238535. Online ahead of print.


As policymakers globally recognize aging in place as the preferred option for most adults, there is a growing need to supplement family or informal caregiving for frail older adults with formal homecare services, particularly for those who require 24/7 care due to significant physical and/or cognitive impairment. The core objective of this qualitative study was to explore family members' experiences in employing live-in care workers, particularly the nature of their engagement and the quality of their relationships with these care workers. Our analysis of semi-structured interviews with 35 family caregivers revealed four themes: 1) challenges in acquiring support and developing dependency; 2) negotiation of roles, responsibilities, and moral dilemmas; 3) shifting emotions between trust and suspicion; and 4) role confusion, expectations, and disappointments. The study suggests that families might benefit from formal guidance regarding fostering and maintaining positive relationships in the homecare environment. This paper provides nuanced knowledge that may inform the development of such interventions.

Keywords: Aging in place; care work; employer-employee relationships; family caregivers; homecare; migrant care workers.