Paying kin for care: Agency barriers to formalizing informal care

Suzanne E. England, Nathan L. Linsk, Lori Simon-Rusinowitz, Sharon M. Keigher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The idea of giving compensation to family members who care for health-impaired elderly relatives is viewed with ambivalence by policymakers. If pay were given to such caretakers, the relationship between state-level community care programs and families could change. This paper reports on a survey of home care agency administrators in Illinois, a state that contracts with agencies to provide direct services to elderly persons. Agency administrators were asked to react to the potential impact on their agencies of the state allowing or encouraging the hiring of relatives as caretakers. Most administrators tended to view paid family members as different and more difficult to train and supervise than other workers. Possible explanations for this negative view are explored, including the fundamental difference between the goals of family and agency care and the impact of efficiency as an organizing principle of longterm care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-86
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Aging and Social Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 29 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Gerontology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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