Ageing in places: Exploring the boundaries of 'community' and 'home' through dementia care
(University of Sheffield)
Paper short abstract:
This paper draws on ethnographic work with people with dementia and their relatives to problematise "ageing in place" and the taken for granted status of 'home' and the 'community' as singular and static places and networks for embedding care arrangements in later life.
Paper long abstract:
"Ageing in place" policy aims to define formal government and international support for practices designed to enable older people to continue to live independently in the community. Local authorities in many nations hold responsibility to address social care needs of older adults including assessing and providing (or commissioning external organisations to provide) different forms and levels of care. In practice, the resulting assemblage of carers, care workers and technologies situate and limit their support to an older person's home rather than enabling an older person to engage with a wider system of people and spaces in the community. This paper draws on previous ethnographic work with people with dementia living in their own home and their carers to problematise "ageing in place" and associations with 'home' and the 'community' in care policy and practice. As people with dementia experienced an increased range and severity of symptoms, they also appeared to experience diminished capacities to navigate and occupy spaces in their home. Carers often reconfigured and adapted rooms to allow a person with dementia to carry out their daily routine. As part of this adaptation, formal care service providers would also issue different assistive living technologies. Transformations in the spaces and technologies of everyday life and care also shaped how people with dementia and carers occupied or abandoned domestic and community spaces and relationships. Such changes require further reflection on how we distinguish between 'living at home' and 'living in the community' as concepts for policy and care provision.
Staying, moving, (re)settling: transitioning practices, actors and places of care in later life [Age and Generations Network]