A consideration of love labour in informal caring
This paper is drawn from research on family carers that was carried out in the Cork area of Ireland in 2007-08. The research itself focused on the experiences of family carers and their access to support services in the locality. Key findings indicate that individuals are often caring for family members over the long term, often with minimal access to discretionary community support services. The assumption made by the Irish State, by community services, by carers themselves and by extended family members and friends, is that the onus is
and should be
on close relatives, and particularly women, to take the major responsibility for caring, when this care takes place in the home (Timonen and McMenamin 2002). This also contributes to the invisibility and undervaluation of family carers (Baker et al.
2004; Lynch 2007). The development of theoretical perspectives on caring can contribute to highlighting the manner in which assumptions about family, domesticity, gender roles and household continue to disadvantage those located primarily within the private sphere.