Home care and elderly people : the experiences of home helps and old people in Salford
My study is concerned not simply with the what and the how of hone care for the elderly but also with the I ask about how the domiciliary services operate: what home helps do for elderly people and how they feel about their caring role, and, what the circumstances of elderly people needing care are and how they feel about using help. But I also want to know why home help operates in this way: why home helps care in the way they do and why elderly people feel as they do about using that care? Such an approach cannot fail to take into consideration the wider ecological and structural context within which elderly people and home helps live and work. Part one of my thesis, composed of three chapters, therefore provides this backcloth. I use it to introduce the location of the study, to present a brief history and discussion of the development of domiciliary services for the elderly in Britain, and 10 describe the philosophy and policy shaping domiciliary provision within Salford Social Services Department. As I shall show, current Government economic policy is inextricably woven into the fabric of this backcloth. In Part Two, I detail the findings of my fieldwork, painting a picture of the lives of the frail and impaired elderly people using domiciliary care, and of the work of the home helps providing that care. As far as possible, I have used the interviewees' own words to explain perceptions of (in)dependence and need, of stiqma and taboo, of material and ideological motivations, and of emotional involvements and commitments. A number of writers have argued that dependency - a concept at the centre of inquiries into the care of the elderly - is a socially constructed relationship, both with respect to elderly users and female providers of care. In Part Three, I question whether and in what way the evidence supports or denies this claim. I ask what are the implications of my findings for social policy. I also justify the use of anthropological perspectives in policy-related research. Finally, I present an account of my experience as a researcher which can be approached from a number of different levels., At a'basic level, it represents an immediate account of doing fieldwork. It is also my account, as a post-graduate, of the experience of writing-up a thesis. I consider the effect of the passing of time on context and consciousness and hci this feeds into the analysis and presentation, of work. And I attempt to address concerns with the writer/reader/subject relationship which pose questions to do with communication.