Support for working informal carers before and during the COVID-19 pandemic : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Psychology at Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand

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New Zealand's aging population, changing family and workforce dynamics have implications for working informal carers. Increased demand for informal care coupled with extended working life and governmental promotion of "aging in place" raises issues regarding appropriate supports and infrastructure to accommodate this expanding societal area of need. This qualitative research explores how working informal carers in New Zealand experienced support before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. An inductive phenomenological approach was used to explore the support experiences of 10 adult working informal carers in paid employment while caring for a person aged 65 years and over. Semi-structured interviews were conducted online via video call or by telephone. The interview data was analysed using thematic analysis, from which several themes were developed. Salient themes included: invisibility and disinterest, disconnected services and difficulty accessing support; the importance of relationship and connection for the caring role and support systems; and the interconnectedness of support systems. The findings were explored in the light of existing research and considered societal, relational, and work supports as well as support implications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The research findings are relevant, add value, and further, the literature regarding working informal carers support in Aotearoa New Zealand. As evidenced through this study and previous research, working informal carers are an essential cohort for society. Further related research could include raising awareness, growing knowledge on how to provide adequate services for all working informal carers, including diverse cultural groups, and engaging carers who do not self-identify as working informal carers.