Our People

Cathy Thomson

Research Fellow and PhD Candidate
BA (Syd), MA (UNSW)
Social Policy Research Centre


+61 2 9385 7827
+61 2 9385 7838
Room 213, Goodsell Building
Kensington Campus

Cathy Thomson, BA Syd., MA UNSW, Research Fellow, SPRC, has extensive experience conducting research in the areas of community services, children's services and carer issues. She has worked closely with Commonwealth and State Departments and community organisations in the evaluation of the provision and coordination of community services. She has been responsible for the conduct and management of primary research projects. She has highly developed research skills including a sound understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methods. Cathy has commenced post-graduate study and her PhD will focus on carers and the cost of care in an ageing society.

Carers and the costs of care in an ageing society

Demographic and policy changes have, on the one hand, increased the demand for informal care, while on the other, resulted in a reduction in the pool of current and future informal carers. The physical and emotional demands placed on carers and the negative health and quality of life consequences is well documented. However, providing support for a disabled frail aged spouse, parent or relative involves both direct and indirect costs for carers. Indirect costs are costs associated with spending time caring rather than participating in education, employment or leisure. Direct costs include the additional expenditures associated with caring for the person with the disability, such as increased transport, communication and home modification costs. The aim of the research is to estimate the direct costs of informal care for frail older people and those with disabilities aged over 60 years research using a mixed method. The outcomes of the research will contribute significantly to the debates and policy responses about how to best to support informal carers to meet the costs associated with caring.