Accepted paper:

Professionally related: the consequence of re-establishing informal care in rural Finland

Authors:

Erika Takahashi (Chiba University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the relative care practice in Finland, which is prompted and supported by municipalities. By describing the extent of the municipal support and the narratives of relative caregivers, I’d like to discuss what the diversification and professionalization of being-related connotes.

Paper long abstract:

In social democratic welfare states, the informal care had not been a reliable resource for decades. For example in Finland, it is legally stated that children have no obligation to take care of their parents. However, the financial difficulty of the welfare state has opened up the possibility of exploring informal care as cheaper human resources once again. Therefore in Finland, the relative care support act of 2005 has prompted the municipalities to support "relative caregivers". This law ensures these caregivers financial allowances and respites from their care giving tasks. Logically, this law gives incentives to those who take care of their older kin, and regards them as care workers by ensuring his or her rights as part of the official work force. However, it has been common for children to have separate housings, for spouses to be divorced, and for couples and friends to cohabitate. The form of family has already been complicated to say in the least. With a weak idea of duty and a little bit of incentives, who would take the role of "relative caregiver"? This paper is to examine the unorthodoxical types of relationships which shape around the care of elderly people in rural Finland. By describing the decision making process of the relative care support division, the daily practice of respite care workers and the narratives of those who takes care of their elderly kin, the slowly transforming idea of "being related" and its connotation would be discussed.

panel P040
Re-conceptualising kinship and relatedness in an ageing world [MAN]