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Broese van Groenou researches informal caregivers with NWO grant

3 August 2022
Professor 'Informal Care in a Changing Society' at VU Amsterdam Marjolein Broese van Groenou has received a grant from the NWO Open Competition SSH. The sociologist will use this grant for her research ‘How do informal caregivers survive? A study on care networks and wellbeing among Dutch care recipients, their partners and children’.

The fact that more and more elderly people need informal care puts a great deal of pressure on their partners and children. A possible solution is to share the care in a care network with volunteer and professional caregivers. Therefore, FAMCARE first of all aims to investigate which elderly people and their informal caregivers are able to build up a large and diverse care network. Secondly, FAMCARE investigates how this care network can contribute to a good quality of care for the elderly and a reduced overburdening of informal caregivers. Thirdly, because society and care policy have changed considerably in recent decades, FAMCARE will investigate which societal characteristics contribute to the design and functioning of care networks. With this, FAMCARE wants to come to recommendations on how to deal with the anticipated scarcity of informal care in the near future. 

FAMCARE uses unique data from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA, 1992-2022), a long-term study into the functioning of older people in the Netherlands, and repeats the 2001 multi-actor study among partners and children of LASA respondents to compare these results over time.

"I am very pleased to be able to spend the next three years with my team investigating how we can better support informal caregivers of older people," says Marjolein Broese van Groenou. "It is the crown on my work on care and well-being of the elderly. Scientifically, the research is challenging because we combine insights from givers and receivers of care in different time periods. This makes the study unique because it allows us to examine the individual, family and societal conditions under which well-functioning care networks develop. The comparison over time reveals whether older people and their informal caregivers today face different challenges and solutions than twenty years ago."

With the NWO Open Competition-SSH, NWO Social Sciences and Humanities wants to offer researchers the opportunity to carry out research into a subject of their choosing without any thematic constraints.