Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New project: Elder Care Across Borders

Here's some information on my new study, Elder Care Across Borders (ECAB). More information is available at http://eldercareacrossborders.blogspot.nl/

Researcher (PI):
Meghann Ormond, Cultural Geography Chair Group, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Email: meghann.ormond [at] wur.nl

Study abstract: 
With more people living longer than ever before, ageing populations’ health and social care needs are increasingly placing a strain on individual and collective resources and capacities. To date, much elder care research has focused on the distribution of health and social care responsibility among individuals, families, communities, voluntary organisations, and public- and private-sector bodies within countries. Yet, as the growing recruitment of foreign health, residential and domestic care workers in many rapidly-ageing countries attests, the management of elder care needs extends already well beyond national borders.

This study examines another emerging yet under-explored facet of this increasingly transnational approach to redistributing elder care: older people remaining in, or relocating to, international retirement destinations as they grow more physically vulnerable. Rather than fully ‘outsourcing’ the fulfilment of older people’s everyday and medical care needs abroad, support is generated and sustained through dynamic cross-border configurations of formal (i.e., state, private and voluntary) and informal (i.e., family and community) care provision. This project therefore contributes novel longitudinal and in-depth perspective into 1) how home and destination countries’ diverse economic, social and political configurations are used to support seniors’ health and quality of life as they age and 2) how practices and policies enable and/or disable cooperation between formal and informal care providers across borders.

To accomplish this, I use a comparative case study approach to explore the health and social care experiences of growing numbers of elderly British settled in Portugal and Singaporeans in Malaysia; their informal care-givers; and the civil society, governmental and commercial entities concerned with them across both home and destination countries. Project output includes the fostering of cross-border networks in Europe and Asia, the co-development of informational tool-kits, student training on the issue and five academic journal articles.