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The emotional landscape of accessing and navigating formal supports for older adults in one Western Canadian city

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Emotions may be pivotal to understanding how fragmented care systems for older adults can generate structural carer burden. Analysing 78 interviews with 32 carers who navigated formal services in a Western Canadian city, we explore and distinguish between emotional responses to navigation challenges and the emotion work that navigation entails. Emotional responses had a temporal dimension, and, at times, both positive and negative emotions coexisted simultaneously. Symbolic and normative understandings of interactions with providers, and of ‘caring well’, shaped emotion work throughout navigation. Discussion focuses on how broader contexts, through emotional processes, indirectly contribute to carer stress and strain.
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Keywords: caregiver strain; emotion work; family caregiving; system navigation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 2019

This article was made available online on August 9, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "The emotional landscape of accessing and navigating formal supports for older adults in one Western Canadian city".

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Care and Caring (IJCC) is a new multidisciplinary journal designed to advance scholarship and debate in the important and expanding field of care and caring. Multidisciplinary and international in scope, it publishes high quality contributions on care, caring and carers from all regions of the world. IJCC has a broad focus, covering care and caring for people of any age who have long-term conditions, disabilities or frailties, or who are seriously ill or near the end of life. It explores the economic, organisational, political, social, legal, familial, transnational and ethical settings in which this care occurs.

    IJCC is concerned with care provided as paid work and as support for family members, friends or neighbours; with care in home, community and residential settings; and with formal and informal care relations, organisation, systems and markets. It focuses on 'receiving' and 'giving' care and on the gendered nature and social, political, legal and economic status and circumstances of care and caring. It debates the support needed in localities, workplaces and health systems to make care and caring feasible and rewarding for carers and dignified and supportive of independence for care recipients. IJCC welcomes contributions on caring relationships, the ethics and political economy of care, care as a focus of moral philosophy and feminist analysis and care and caring as sources of claims-making and challenge and as the spur for national and global social movements.

    The journal encourages critical engagement with policy and practice developments and aims to include contributions from different areas of the world in each edition. Its regular Debates and Issues section features dialogue with carers’ organisations, policymakers, trade unions, employers and academics, to encourage global dialogue and international sharing of ideas, expertise and experience.

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