Ageing and Gerontology > Sociology of Ageing

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This article seeks to advance our understanding of the care experiences of people living with the effects of disability, ageing and other social locations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on key informant interviews (n = 8) and results from an anonymous online survey (n = 36), this article provides evidence of how people with disabilities and older adults in Ontario, Canada, experienced disruptions in different types of care in their multiple caring relationships. The results describe why they were not able to access the care that they needed during a period when activities began to resume and how their caring relationships had been disrupted. The impact of disruption on people with disabilities, older adults and others in their care relationships was exacerbated by barriers rooted in ableism, ageism and other forms of exclusion. This study demonstrates the importance of addressing unmet care needs by moving beyond the dichotomy of ‘carer’ and ‘cared for’.

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The UK’s adult social care system faces severe challenges, including funding shortages, unmet needs and an overburdened workforce. Resultantly, there is a push for high-quality evidence in service enhancement and resource allocation. Using evidence to improve services is essential, but questions arise about best practices for identifying ‘what works’, integrating evidence into everyday practice and addressing resource constraints. Findings from a 2021 UK survey and consultative forums with stakeholders across adult social care underscore concerns about implementing evidence-based practices and highlight the need for increased collaboration to expand the evidence base. These findings shed light on stakeholders’ perspectives regarding factors shaping adult social care practices, opportunities for evidence to play a greater role, definitions of valid evidence and priorities for change. Improved communication and coordination within the sector are crucial to enhance evidence-based decision making, focus limited resources on proven strategies and shape a more effective, evidence-informed adult social care system.

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Health and social care services and systems increasingly promote both interprofessional practice and person-centred care. This discussion first examines the clinical and community-based contexts for providing interprofessional practice and person-centred care through the lens of personal, interpersonal, interprofessional and organisational values. Emerging conflicts among values are highlighted using the concept of moral distress, with examples from US and Canadian settings. The comparison then moves to the systems level, examining different US and Canadian contexts for improving the quality and reducing the cost of care. Finally, implications and applications are presented, focusing on interrelationships among the individual, interprofessional team and organisation.

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This article explores findings from a qualitative participatory study with asylum seekers in Ireland employed in the healthcare sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. By extending an intersectional analysis framework, we demonstrate how the vulnerability of care workers living within the international protection accommodation system ‘under the care’ of the state intersects with power exercised by the neoliberal care market and is compounded by global health controls instituted during the pandemic. Participants reveal a lack of autonomy and forms of precarity that were not faced by other care workers, particularly increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 and multiple forms of stigma.

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While welfare states and work organisations often provide policies to facilitate a reconciliation of paid work and informal care, the literature pays little attention to employees’ actual capabilities to engage with such policies. In this article, we apply the capabilities approach to interview data from managers and employees in the Netherlands to understand employees’ use or non-use of the policies. We found that job flexibility may help workers reconcile work and care in the short run but that respondents with greater job flexibility reported more health problems than respondents with less flexibility, which calls into question the sustainability of these policies.

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Using a propensity score matching approach, this study evaluates the effect of caring on the physical health, mental health and subjective well-being of Chilean older people. The average treatment effect was not significant in any of the outcomes to physical health. However, older carers – and those who care intensely – were more likely to have depressive and anxious symptomatology and lower life satisfaction than older non-carers. Interventions should consider strategies that favour mental health and avoid caregiver burden, considering the interaction between caring and the challenges of ageing. This could improve the quality of life of carers and those being cared for.

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