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Author: Chiara Giordano

Home care service providers have been considerably affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Since the beginning of the pandemic, their internal organisation has undergone important changes, including in terms of time schedules, to adapt to the needs of the older population and those of workers. In most cases, they had to reduce the provision of services, either because care workers – the majority of whom are women – were no longer available to cover the shifts, or because families had cancelled the services. In other cases, they had to meet increased demand. The most dramatic consequences were borne by female care workers, who had to combine working time adjustments with family obligations. Drawing from the material collected before and after the impact of the pandemic in Belgium, which includes interviews with public and private home care providers, this article explores the consequences that time adjustments had on frontline care workers and on the organisations themselves.

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The COVID-19 pandemic poses specific risks to vulnerable population groups. Informal carers for older adults are especially at risk of increased strain, as support from social networks and professional care services is no longer available or in short supply. Already before the pandemic, caring was unequally distributed within societies, with women and people in lower socio-economic status groups bearing a higher risk of caring strain. In this article, we propose a conceptual framework of (unequal) caring strain during the pandemic. We then summarise the state of empirical research, suggest questions for future studies and outline implications for social policy.

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Sleep has been recognised as compromised in dementia care. This study aims to represent the experiences and needs of informal carers via sleep-related accounts. Retrospective interviews were conducted with 20 carers concerning sleep changes across the trajectory of dementia care. Key interactive narratives were around: ‘sleep as my sacrifice’; tensions between identities of being a ‘sleeper’ versus ‘guardian’; and ‘sleep as a luxury’. Maintaining healthy sleep and preferable sleep practices is challenging while balancing the responsibilities of dementia-related care. Acknowledging sleep as a sociological practice enables a greater understanding of carers’ nuanced experience and support needs.

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The last chapter provides a summary of the study’s main findings and highlights their theoretical significance. By including the input of migrant, non-migrating relatives, and migration and health service providers, the chapter addresses the relevance of taking this research into account for health and migration policymaking, and migrant advocacy and assistance transnationally. While acknowledging the study limitations, the chapter provides practical recommendations and emphasizes the urgency to advance migrant rights, collective health, and social justice across borders.

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This chapter focuses on the 11 psycho-sociocultural mechanisms that migrants and non-migrating relatives utilized to cope with the effects of outward and return migration that were identified and conceptualized in the study of the Ecuadorean case in the context of other similar Latin American migratory processes. Disillusion adjustment, paralyzing nostalgia, motivating nostalgia, denied migrant health, normalization of malaise, pain encapsulation, well-being ideal, transgenerational goals, strategic return, settling readjustment, and involuntary return rebound are explained including significant portions of stories of health and migration shared by research participants in individual and group interviews and community workshops. The psycho-sociocultural coping mechanisms are explained in relation to one another and health processes, and tied to underlying economic, migration, health, and sociocultural policies and politics in countries of origin, transit, and destination.

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This chapter introduces the research project by explaining the relationship between migration and health, the particularities of the Ecuadorean case, and the unique interdisciplinary and critical theoretical and methodological angle of the study. Moreover, it maps the conceptual framework that emerged from the transnational investigation of migration from Ecuador to the United States, Spain, and back, and highlights its contribution to the body of literature on health and migration. Finally, it provides a detailed account of the sample of migrants, non-migrating relatives, and health and migration service providers from which the research was developed, a reflection on activist research and ethics, and outlines the rest of the book.

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Critical Activist Research across Ecuadorean Borders

Drawing from an activist research project spanning Loja, Santo Domingo, New York, New Jersey, and Barcelona, this book offers a feminist intersectional analysis of the impact of migration on health and well-being.

It assesses how social inequalities and migration and health policies, in Ecuador and destination countries, shape the experiences of migrants. The author also explores how individual and collective action challenges health, geopolitical, gender, sexual, ethnoracial, and economic disparities, and empowers communities.

This is a thorough analysis of interpersonal, institutional, and structural mechanisms of marginalization and resistance. It will inform policy and research for better responses to migration’s negative effects on health, and progress towards greater equality and social justice.

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This chapter focuses on the seven health processes triggered by migration that were identified and conceptualized in the study of the Ecuadorean case in the context of other similar Latin American migratory processes. Reflective mourning, active migrant trauma, passive migrant trauma, migratory stress, migrant crises triggers, return shock, and unrecognized migratory resilience are explained through excerpts from stories of health and migration shared by migrants and non-migrating relatives in individual and group interviews and community workshops as well as quantitative and qualitative data collected through surveys. The health processes are explained in relation to one another and psycho-sociocultural coping mechanisms, and tied to underlying economic, migration, health, and sociocultural policies and politics in countries of origin, transit, and destination.

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This chapter explains how migrants and non-migrating relatives dealt with the relational effects generated by outward and return migratory processes, which included novel family dynamics, members, ties, and conflicts. The psycho-sociocultural mechanism of family de/re-construction, at the core of migrants’ and relatives’ ability to cope with their altered family realities, is analyzed together with the set of five complementary mechanisms of communication distortion, subordination to concealment and deception, unspoken pacts, resentment and detachment, and sensible comprehension. This chapter incorporates significant portions of stories of health and migration from individual and group interviews and community workshops held during the transnational research. Post-migration family coping mechanisms are explained in relation to other mechanisms and health processes, and tied to underlying economic, migration, health and sociocultural policies and politics in countries of origin, transit, and destination.

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This chapter explores how migrants and non-migrating relatives interact with formal border politics, including geographical boundaries between countries; national and international policies regarding migration, residency, and citizenship; and racial/ethnic, gender/sexual, class, and other intersecting social structures and practices of inequality in places of origin, transit, and destination. Migrants and non-migrating relatives learn how to navigate formal border politics and can maintain, recreate, contest, and change them. In doing so, they enact their own informal border politics. When these informal border politics result in challenging and dismantling formal border politics, a transformative border politics is unearthed. By including significant portions of stories of health and migration from individual and group interviews and community workshops held during the transnational research, this chapter shows how migrants and non-migrating relatives traverse, rework, and transcend geopolitical, gender/sexual, ethnoracial, and socioeconomic borders.

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