Older Carers in Ageing Societies: An Evaluation of a Respite Care Program for Older Carers in Western Australia
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science
The Australian Red Cross Older Carers Program was developed in 2003 to support the unique needs of “older carers” aged 65 and older (50 if Indigenous) who care for a person (a care recipient, usually a family member) aged 18 or older who have a permanent disability. The aim of the program was to provide intensive case planning, management, and volunteer support that would assist older carers to more readily access respite and continue their caring role in the home. To help achieve this end, ongoing individualised and holistic assistance involving older carers in decision making was an integral component of the Older Carers Program, as was the use of regular home visits by program staff. The Older Carers Program evaluation was both a process and outcome evaluation. Much of the evaluation research focused on the extent to which it had met its stated aims and objectives. However, because the program was quite new and innovative there was a significant further focus upon the processes and activities within the program. At the time the evaluation research was conducted (May 2005), the program had been in operation for 22 months. The population group was identified as those persons (older carers) who had been part of the program between July 2003 and March 2005. Of the 96 older carers who had accessed the program in the specified period, 62 agreed to participate in our research. The methodology consisted of an audit or the program database, in-depth interviews with older carers, and contextual data collection involving program staff and other stakeholders.