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Accepted Paper:

The multiplicity of aging and dying a home - the need for doing ethnographic health research at home  
Camilla Hansen (Oslo Metropolitan University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores age- related disability experiences as en epistemological reflection on examining embodied processes as practices and interactions. These meaning-making processes on how life can be lived at home so that death take place at home create the need for doing medical anthropology.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores experiences of age-related disability within an epistemological reflection on examining bodily processes as practices and interactions. It further illustrates how experiences near perceptions of the meaning-making process can shape how life can be lived at home, so that death can also occur at home. The paper argues that doing medical anthropology provides insight into embodied practices that are not easy to articulate, and hence ethnographic studies can become relevant in contributing to more successful aging processes, due to the openness in epistemology.

In the health policy context of Norway, home services are promoted through a program called "everyday rehabilitation" that focuses on autonomy and independence ("independent aging"). However, the aging process has no return to increased coping and self-sufficiency, and hence people with age-related disabilities become deprioritized in health care services in their home.

The paper discusses cultural perceptions of ‘age-related disability’ both within the family that can both open and close for support from the health care system, but also close and open for health workers within the health care system.

The paper draws upon the method of auto ethnography, where the author, a qualified nurse and a medical anthropologist, has closely followed the age-related disability process over 13 years, which also enabled her father to die at home. Through storytelling and emphasis on belonging to landscape and places, the embodied experience changes over time and hence a broader understanding of social and material relationships make up what can contribute to successful aging in disability living.

Panel OP087
The intersectionality of anthropology, ageing, and disability studies [Medical Anthropology Europe (MAE)]
  Session 2