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Inequalities of AgingParadoxes of Independence in American Home Care$
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Elana D. Buch

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781479810734

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479810734.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 28 May 2022

Making Care Work

Making Care Work

Training and Supervision in Home Care Agencies

(p.88) 3 Making Care Work
Inequalities of Aging

Elana D. Buch

NYU Press

In making care into work, agencies justify their existence in the market as managing the predictable tensions that regularly arise in home care. Home care agencies build upon women’s familial experience of care while seeking to transform them into workers whose labor conforms to the ethical and temporal norms of American workplaces. Conflicts regularly arise between people’s moral ideologies about care, the economic pressures of capitalist markets, and the laws that govern labor and elder care in the United States. This chapter traces the transformation of moral values into economic value by focusing on the everyday ethics practiced by home care agency training and management staff as they mediate between national moralities, the needs of their agencies, the needs of clients, and their own ethics. Agencies’ different funding sources affect how they imagine and generate their clients’ independence. Publicly funded care policies view older adults as liberal persons in a democratic state in which rights and services are the result of citizenship and need rather than social position. In privately funded care, older adults’ independence was authorized by their privileged position as consumers whose subjective tastes and preferences determined the kinds and quantity of care they received. Their independence was not the result of fair treatment by an equitable state, but rather determined by their ability to wield economic power.

Keywords:   agency, home care work, training, American workplace, older adults, street-level bureaucrats, care policies, independence

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