ENTWINE The European Training Network on Informal Care Research
The European Training Network on Informal Care
Mostly due to increased longevity and medical advances, more older and/or ill individuals will need long-term care while the availability of informal caregivers decreases.

Informal caregivers are those who provide unpaid care to a relative or friend with a chronic illness, disability or other long-lasting health or care need. Societies build to a large extent on informal caregivers. ENTWINE explores challenges in informal caregiving by looking at cultural, motivational, psychological, social, and economic perspectives. ENTWINE investigates innovative psychology-based and technology-based solutions to support informal caregivers. In this way, ENTWINE strives for sustainable informal care throughout Europe.

Relevance

Supporting informal caregivers

The aim of ENTWINE’s team is to investigate a broad spectrum of challenges in informal caregiving and issues concerning the development and use of innovative psychology-based and technology-based interventions that support willingness and opportunity to provide informal care. The focus is on overcoming barriers following a user-centred, stakeholder-driven implementation and agile science approach to promote the adoption and implementation of innovative solutions to support informal caregivers.

ESR project 3

Researchers studied how informal caregivers and the person they care for relate to and interact with each other. When feeling loved, appreciated, and understood by the person they provide care for, caregivers feel closer to this person, less burdened by the caregiving, and more motivated to provide care. Some caregivers are more willing to care for a loved one than others, but importantly, willingness to care is not stable over time. Caregiver's willingness to care fluctuates from week-to-week and it decreases over time. Caregivers are more willing to provide care on the weeks they and their loved ones they provide care for work together as a team. To make caregiving more sustainable, it is recommended to advice and help caregivers and their loved ones they care for to collaborate and communicate clearly in caregiving.

More about ESR project 3

ESR project 6

Researchers studied whether social robots might help informal caregivers to deal with stress and burden by talking about their feelings and experiences. Informal caregivers were asked to talk several times over a period of five weeks to social robot Pepper responding to the robots' questions about their day and how they feel. Results show that over time, informal caregivers were sharing more personal information and talked more about personal feelings with Pepper, felt better after talking to Pepper, and caregivers found Pepper increasingly friendly over time. More research is needed, but these results are promising with respect to the use of social robots as an interventional tool to alleviate stress.

More about ESR project 6