Send to

Choose Destination
J Public Health Med. 1998 Jun;20(2):221-6.

'I forget myself': the case for the provision of culturally sensitive respite services for minority ethnic carers of older people.

Author information

Scottish Ethnic Minorities Research Unit, School of Planning and Housing, Edinburgh College of Art-Heriot Watt University.



The aim of the study was to investigate the need for, use of and preferences for respite services among minority ethnic carers of older people. It was anticipated that the similarities which these carers share in caring for a person from a minority group far outweight the differences arising from their particular ethnic origin.


Interviews were conducted with 45 minority ethnic carers of older people in the Lothian region of Scotland. A detailed qualitative analysis of their need for respite services and preferences for service delivery was undertaken, the results of which have implications for other minority ethnic carers of older people in the United Kingdom.


The findings suggest that many of these carers would be open to the use of respite services which would allow them a break from caring. Their need for respite services is evidenced by several factors including certain characteristics of those they look after and the lack of support from other members of the family. The low uptake of respite services by these carers may be accounted for by a general lack of awareness of the availability of these services as well as clear preferences for service delivery which are currently not being met.


Existing policies in the United Kingdom provide a firm foundation for a pro-active approach which recognizes the particular isolation experienced by minority ethnic carers and addresses the current low uptake of services. Respite services which are currently available could also be made more appropriate to the needs of these carers by accommodating differences in linguistic ability, dietary needs, gender sensitivity, and other religious and cultural differences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center