1 Instituto Superior Miguel Torga / Communication and Society Research Centre (PORTUGAL)
2 Instituto Superior Miguel Torga (PORTUGAL)
3 Instituto Superior Miguel Torga / Center for Health Studies and Research (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 3507-3514
ISBN: 978-84-697-9480-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2018.0676
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
The informal caregiver is any person, not economically paid, who assumes the task of providing care to another dependent or disabled person and who is not able to perform one task without the help of another. The act of caring results from a dynamic process between care and the caregiver, involving a set of subjective and transpersonal actions, aimed at helping the individual who is cared for to achieve a better quality of life. The caregiver is the person who assumes the responsibility of caring, supporting or assisting the needs of care, providing an improvement in the quality of health care.

The main objective of this paper is to understand what online and offline resources mobilize informal caregivers to consolidate their social support. The research involved the application of a set of instruments for the collection of data: socio-demographic questionnaire; Informal Caregiver Burden Assessment Questionnaire - QASCI (to evaluate the physical, emotional and social overload of the informal caregiver); questionnaire assessing the role of the Internet in the life of informal caregivers.

The empirical study was operationalized in a quantitative methodological strategy using an online questionnaire survey. The quantitative methodology allows analyzing the results obtained according to the variables and working hypotheses. For the analysis and treatment of the data we used the software Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), version 23.0 and followed the statistical analysis descriptive and inferential. The study was carried out with a sample of 113 participants, of whom 101 were female (89.4%) and 12 were male (10.6%), aged between 23 and 71 years. ages of 47.75 years (SD = 10.701).

The data obtained in this exploratory study regarding the socio-demographic characteristics allow establishing profile of the informal caregiver in Portugal. Informal caregivers are predominantly female (89.4%), with an average age of 48 years (SD = 10.70), who consider themselves to be in good health (48.7%), are in an active situation (61.1%), live in an urban area (75.2%), are married or live together (66.4%), with a household consisting of 2 to 3 people (consisting of the partner and children), live with the person they take care and, on average, have been caring for 11 hours a day (SD = 9.13) for about 5 years (SD = 4.94). It was also found that the main reason that informal caregivers take care is due to the affinity (46.9%) and feeling of gratitude they feel for the person (28.3%). The kind of care most provided is supervision and partial help (both with 33.6%).

The results allow to verify that the average physical, emotional and social burden of the informal caregivers of our study, in comparison with other studies, are significantly lower, which leads us to conclude that these differences are due to the competences mobilized by our sample in the use of the Internet. The results show that there are statistically significant differences in family support (p < 0.001) and perception of mechanisms of efficacy and control (p = 0.002) as well as the fact that the Internet can help informal caregivers to combat loneliness (n = 89, 78,8%). These results lead us to conclude that respondents who claim to have greater family support are those who consider that the Internet does not combat loneliness. Respondents who say they have greater mechanisms of effectiveness and control are those who say that the Internet can combat loneliness.
Informal caregiver, burden, social support, online support, offline support.