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The Caring SelfThe Work Experiences of Home Care Aides$
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Clare L. Stacey

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449857

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449857.001.0001

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On the Front Lines of Care

(p.1) Introduction
The Caring Self

Clare L. Stacey

Cornell University Press

This introductory chapter begins with a discussion of the long-term care crisis or the “care gap” in the United States, i.e. the problem of finding sufficient numbers of quality care providers to meet the needs of the elderly, chronically ill, and disabled. It then sets out the book's purpose: to enrich current debates over the long-term care crisis by describing the constraints facing low-skilled caregivers on the front lines of care. Drawing on interviews with and observations of home care aides in California and Ohio, the book describes the conditions under which low-skilled, low-waged caregivers provide for the needs of the elderly and chronically ill, paying particular attention to the material factors (namely, wages) and nonmaterial impulses (such as altruism, emotional attachment, and the drive for autonomy) that propel women into the job and sustain, or undermine, their occupational commitments. The remainder of the chapter presents a background on home care, paid care work, and caregivers. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.

Keywords:   long-term care, elderly, eldercare, home health aides, home care aides, caregivers, care work

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