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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2012): Care of the elderly - overseas

Older people an migration: challenges for social work

S. Lawrence and S. Torres (guest editors)

European Journal of Social Work, vol. 15, 2012, p. 1-147

Globalisation has led to an explosion in international migration. The articles in this special issue explore the challenges faced by social workers in meeting the needs of these migrant populations as they age. The articles all show that older migrants are, as a social work category, a very heterogeneous group and that social work needs to accommodate increasing diversity. They also suggest, albeit in implicit ways, that international collaboration in social work practice may be needed now that the interdependence of countries has become more tangible.

Transnational mobilities for care: rethinking the dynamics of care in Asia

S. Huang, L.L. Thang and M. Toyota (guest editors)

Global Networks, vol. 12, 2012, p. 129-275

This special issue focuses on the intersections between transnational mobilities for care and the practices of care, specifically those related to eldercare, in Asia. Ageing populations across Asia have given rise to an increasingly variegated mosaic in the social terrains of care, and consequently, to new dynamics of care provision especially for the elderly. Neoliberal government policies in more developed countries to move care to the market and to the family have become increasingly difficult to address from within these societies themselves and much care labour is being imported in the form of healthcare workers, domestic workers, and even foreign brides. Three cross-cutting themes emerge from the articles in this collection: the transposability of care; the reciprocity of care; and the continued feminisation of care work.

Unheard voices, unmapped terrain: care work in long-term residential care for older people in Canada and Sweden

T. Daly and M. Szebehely

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 21, 2012, p. 139-148

In most mainstream comparative welfare state research, the paid care workers who actually carry out the care services are hardly visible. There is no articulation of care workers' working conditions, and the encounter between the care worker and the recipient is rarely linked to the broader social, political and economic context. Very little is known about whether there are national (or welfare regime specific) differences in the employment conditions and working day of care workers. Using the voices of workers, this research focused on the everyday realities of care work set in the relations between care workers and residents in long-term residential care for older people in Sweden and Canada. The article describes some of the similarities and differences in the conditions of care work in these jurisdictions and analyses how work organisation affects workers. The research found that Canada follows a highly differentiated task-oriented care work model, whereas Sweden uses an integrated relational model. In addition, smaller care units and what appears to be a higher staffing ratio in Swedish long-term care very likely enable Swedish care workers to provide better care, thus improving living conditions for residents and working conditions for themselves.

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