Modes of Self-Care and Care of the Elderly People Living Separetly in Peripheral Settlements
Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Research Fellow, Sociological Institute of FCTAS RAS, St. Petersburg, Russia Kgalkin1989@mail.ru
For the last decade there has been a growing research interest for care of the elderly people. However there is little empirical research of the elderly people which are living separately in rural areas and have different health problems. Care is considered as care for the elderly, which is provided by various providers: the state, commercial institutions for the care of the elderly, neighbors,and family. Self care is understood in the article as independent care of elderly people for themselves. The article discusses the main types of care that older people in rural areas use when living separately. The study employs qualitative research methods. The empirical base of the research are biographical interviews with elderly people (N = 25) and semi-structured interviews with relatives (N =15) in rural areas in the Leningrad region (Luzhsky district). The purpose why researcher use these methods is individual reflections of elderly people about care and self care. The research focuses on subjective meanings in which elderly people describe routine tasks, self-care as well as problems associated with living separately in peripheral settlements, mechanisms that regulate the use of care or self-care practices and the use of various care providers. It is shown that various routine tasks, as well as health conditions, contribute to the treatment and attitude to different care providers. The article focuses on the experiences of the elderly themselves and the difficulties associated with overcoming social exclusion, which can be amplified by various states of health. The theoretical framework of the study is care conceptualization by Marco Albertini and author’s conceptualization of self-care. The key findings and main results of the study are the role of the local community, which is especially noticeable in peripheral settlements and helps to overcome social exclusion in the lives of elderly people. The paper also highlights different levels of care that delineate it spatially, as well as determine the importance of different providers at the presented levels. These findings provoke discussion about the role of local community and the accessibility of various types of care in rural areas for the elderly and the role of self care and autonomy in everyday life and practices of the elderly people. The study contributes to the conceptualization of care and self care of the elderly people and the studies of the rural elderly people.