Alexa Carson’s recent research article, “A Pressure Release Valve: South Korean Long-Term Care Policy as Supplemental to Family Elder Care,”was recentlypublished in the Journal of Aging & Social Policy. In this article, shehighlights numerous strengths ofSouth Korea’s long-term care policy,yet finds it is stillsupplemental to family elder care. Alexa Carson is aPhDcandidatein the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. She has a Master’s in International Development Studies from Dalhousie University and is the co-author of a book exploring youth homelessness in Canada. Her current SSHRC-funded dissertation research examines family care for Latin American and Caribbean seniors in Toronto, Canada.

Banner photo by Kim Bong-kyu

A Pressure Release Valve: South Korean Long-Term Care Policy as Supplemental to Family Elder Care

ABSTRACT

South Korea’s National Long-term Care Insurance (NLTCI) has received international acclaim for its universal continuum-of-care model. Based on 25 qualitative interviews with family caregivers, this research explores the relationship between NLTCI policies and experiences of family caregiving for older people. Caregivers who share care responsibilities or are supported by other family are coping well with minor to moderate policy recommendations. Lone caregivers without support from other family are struggling and express desire for expanded services. These findings highlight a need for more consideration of the influence of family dynamics on informal caregiver burdens. Despite many strengths, NLTCI policy functions as a pressure release valve, supplementing family care for seniors – not replacing it – with minimal gender equity contributions.

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