“This is really starting to get interesting, because I have lots of stories to tell!” exclaimed Bernice (pseudonym), a 95-year-old participant in the newly-launched Upper Peninsula Digital History Initiative (UPDHI) in Hancock, a small town in northern Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. The tension in the air was palpable as the four older adults and four youth participants introduced themselves around the table in the conference hall of the hosting organization, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly. In fact, Bernice, who turned out to be the project’s most captivating storyteller, insisted that her limited education level and current vision and hearing troubles would prevent her from being able to produce a video, and she nearly dropped out of the program. But once the storytelling got started the mood eased and the elder participants filled the afternoon with moving tales and funny anecdotes covering topics ranging from war and activism to surviving the long, dark Hancock winters as children. They were energized – and even surprised – that others were so were interested in their stories. To my surprise, I left that conference room with a new perspective on the tiny town I grew up in – which I thought I knew inside out. Continue reading
Anthropology & Aging Quarterly Volume 34, issue 3 (September 2013) pp.126-134
The Familial Dyad between Aged Patients and Filipina Caregivers in Israel:
Eldercare, Bodily-based Practices, and the Jewish Family
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Download full PDF here: AAQ34(3)MAZUZ
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