This paper explores the feasibility of the traditional model of care provision in rural areas of Spain. This traditional familialistic model relies on families, specifically on women, to secure care provision for the elderly population. The model has been widely recognized as obsolete and unsustainable due to the integration of women into the labour market and the changes in family structures. However, in Spain, 80% of care providers are still family members, and the elderly population shows a clear preference for the family as the ideal care provider. Thus, we are experiencing a transitional moment with a consensus about the crisis of the model of care but in which families retain the responsibility of providing care. Rural areas are facing a peculiar situation in this regard, since they have experienced a more intense ageing process; the rural-urban exodus explains the limited availability of family members and the masculinization of population, since women migrated in a higher proportion than men. Thus, women, traditional caregivers, may not be present to secure this role. This paper analyzes these changes and their impact on gender relations through a demographic study, using population registers.
Population ageing; rural areas; care providers; masculinization; informal care