Date of Award


Publication Type


Degree Name



Social Work

First Advisor

G. Erickson

Second Advisor

M. Holosko




The purpose of this qualitative-descriptive study was to evaluate overall social support to elderly applicants and their family caregivers awaiting placement into Windsor-Essex County area nursing homes. The study was executed by means of an exploratory-descriptive interview of the applicants; primary family caregivers. The study focuses on respondents' perceptions regarding three main questions: 1) what the specific needs of the respondents were during the interim waiting period; 2) whether these needs were being met; 3) whether the interface of the formal and informal service systems was adequate in terms of overall social support. Results indicated several common primary needs were expressed by respondents including care and/or supervision during evening hours, 24-hour care coverage provided by trained caregivers, caregiver respite and recuperation with replacement caregiving, and out-of-home health-respective community day care for the applicants. Other specific needs were also determined. Respondents indicated that while some of their expressed needs such as supervision, respite and task completion were being met albeit ineffectively, others such as night care and nursing home orientation remained unresolved. The present interfaced formal-informal service system was found to be useful for respondents, but marginally adequate toward providing social support over time. Discussion and implications of the study are targeted toward both corroborating and contrasting literature. In terms of further study on social support and the elderly and extended caring relationships, dual spousal applicants and Alzheimer's Disease patients require special consideration and relative intervention.