As the population in the US ages, there is increasing need to study aging In this article I describe a familial dyad between the Filipina caregiver and the Israeli aged patient. I argue that a familial dyad emerges based on bodily forms of care. This familial dyad becomes a mechanism for adaptation to and enduring of the daily and intimate encounter of a foreign caregiver and an aged dying patient. The familial dyad provides insight into the phenomenology of the care experience as a function for re-conceptualizing social relations and intra-family dynamics. This will broaden our understanding of the possible varieties of bodily-based practices and their relational repercussions as interpersonal care engagements. The form of a familial dyad underscores the dynamism and complexity of care practices as intersubjective and corporeal modes through which one body engages the other. These care practices which are based on repetitive physical actions allow immediate first-person access to the other participants’ subjective state. Thus, in an era of globalized care, the familial dyad takes form and shape at the most intimate juncture between the subjects, their corporeal and interpersonal being.
Keywords: Israel, bodily-based practices, eldercare, Filipina caregivers, empathy, family, dyad, work migration, Jewish home, phenomenology of care
In the United States, “aging in place” has been established as the preferred method of aging. This article examines the work, processes, and tensions involved in aging in place in the southwest US, focusing on the experiences of chronically ill older adults receiving Medicare-reimbursed home health care. Based on an in depth ethnography, it examines the resources and work that go into aging in place amid uncertainty, and highlights how processes related to the integration of person and place are negotiated and contested between older adults, family members, and home health nurses. Drawing on definitions of place from geography, I argue that aging in place should be understood using a processual lens to highlight the ways that health regimes aimed at facilitating aging in place can, at times, reinforce and introduce sense of bodily risk, shift embodiment and daily practice, and require negotiations among household members. I also point to the difficulties people face in maintaining aging in place when supports are lacking and futures uncertain.
Keywords: place, home care, medicalization, United States
Rodney Steadman, Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta Candace I.J. Nykiforuk, Centre for Health Promotion Studies, School of Public Health, University of Alberta Helen Vallianatos, Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta
This article examines the illness and recovery experiences and perceptions of physically active middle aged and older adults participating in hiking groups. These perceptions are examined within the local milieu of their group and the larger social context of biomedical norms of healthy older bodies. Discourse on the body was viewed through the lens of medical anthropology and data were analyzed using embodied ethnography. There were 15 participants (53 percent female) and all were of European descent. The hiking group provided participants with meaningful spaces and places where they could explore all aspects of their health with the support of others who had undergone similar life experiences. The physical activities they engaged in as a group were therapeutic and transformational for several members. Their group activities created a deep sense of community and aided in their healing processes. Holistic health programs such as hiking groups could provide an alternative or ancillary treatment options. However, cost, location, opportunities for socialization, and the physical abilities of potential participants should be seriously considered before adopting a hiking program for this demographic.
Active aging, health, middle-aged, older adult, hiking, embodied ethnography
This issue will focus on the aging body not only in terms of biophysical processes of maturation, but also in terms of the aging body’s cultural elaboration, its articulations with other “bodies,” such as Lock and Scheper-Hughes’ formulation of the social and political “body,” and the representation and manipulation of the “old body” through images, technologies, rituals, policies, movements and health practices. We are interested not only in articles that challenge notions of the older body as merely frail or decrepit, but also articles that push conceptual and methodological boundaries of “the body” in its social and cultural contexts. As with many accepted theories in anthropology, theories of the body and embodiment are often framed with an implicit body in mind, and while this implicit body has been usefully critiqued from the perspective of gender, queer,and disability studies, anthropologists studying old age and aging are still developing their own distinct voice in this conversation. This issue of AAQ will draw out the diversity of approaches to the aging body,the challenges they bring to anthropological theories of the body, and the unique contributions of the anthropology of aging to this field.
Topics might include:
The ways the aging body is (mis)recognized through demographic and statistical discourse
The use of the aging body as a form of resistance to the hegemony of youth
Aging bodies as erotic bodies
Aging bodies as a challenge to notions of biopolitics
Depictions of the aging body vs. other bodies in popular media and/or artistic works
Cosmetics and pharmaceutical re-shaping of the aging body
Caring for the body as caring for the self
Bodily adornment and beautification
Painand the body in old age
Discourses and institutions that deindividuate or depersonalize the body
Body, memory, and aging in place
Gender and the aging body
Please contact Jason Danely if you are interested in submitting an article for this issue: firstname.lastname@example.org