“Caring Home”: Kin-Related Elderly Care and Issues of Cohabitation

“Caring Home”:
Kin-Related Elderly Care and Issues of Cohabitation

Tkach O.A.

Centre for Independent Social Research, St.-Petersburg, Russia tkach@cisr.ru

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For citation:

Tkach O.A. “Caring Home”: Kin-Related Elderly Care and Issues of Cohabitation. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2015. No 10. P. 94-102


This paper is based on 23 in-depth interviews with care providers who experienced cohabitation with their elderly sick relatives (parents/parents-in-law) and everyday instrumental and emotional caring. The paper applies a set of conceptual approaches suggested by contemporary ageing, care and home studies. They consider home constructed for kin-related elderly care on structural and everyday level – as one of the localities used for familial care model, on the one hand, and changing and contradictory space produced by boundary work in private sphere, on the other. The first empirically based part of the article provides family background that facilitates a decision of several generations. Then I analyze how newly built home has been adapted materially, practically and emotionally to special needs of elderly relatives. The next part conceptualizes “caring home” though the dynamic of its relations with / outer world and its internal interactions/conflicts concluding with structural and everyday dimensions of “caring home”. Kin-related elderly care model as relevant to the Mediterranean type, has been reproduced in Russian context due to deficit of social infrastructure, deprived status of elderly patients in the realm of public health care, underdeveloped market of paid nurses, and inertness of ideology of obligatory kin-related elderly care. Monopoly of this ideology and practice has been criticized by middle class representatives. “Caring home” allows compensating the deficit of public institutes, but limits generations’ right for private life and minimizes emotional comfort of household members – a vicious circle of kin-related elderly care in Russian urban households.

home; transformation of home space; kin-related elderly care; extended family; intergenerational relations; cohabitation of relatives
Content No 10, 2015