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Theses

Elderly care in Chile : policies for and experiences of family caregivers

Abstract : In the context of an ageing population, a potential decline of family caregivers and the resulting potential care deficit, elderly care has remained an almost invisible subject for public policy and research in Chile. The Chilean government has begun to pay attention to the issue of elderly care, but it is currently moving too slowly. This thesis unveils the voices of the carers who dedicate their lives to providing care to an elderly relative. It studies care from a micro perspective by exploring the daily lives of caregivers and the intensity of their care experience. This thesis also studies care from a macro perspective, describing and analysing how elderly care is distributed in Chile and the government’s role in this responsibility. The study identifies the major steps taken, as well as the challenges that lie ahead with a stronger governmental role and a fairer distribution of elderly care. To study care from a macro perspective, the thesis uses a mixed methods approach. It relies on large-scale surveys, on a literature review and interviews with key informants. To study care from a micro perspective this thesis adopts an in-depth qualitative methodology. The thesis finds that the Chilean social distribution of elderly care, despite all policy efforts to support elderly care, remains drawn towards a “familialism by default” care regime. This means that the social responsibility for elderly care is taken up almost exclusively by families, and by women therein, with important implications for gender and social inequality. The study also finds that caring for an elderly parent is a complex experience. The intensity of the care experience is partly determined by the specific tasks caregivers carry out and the amount of time they spend on care, and it is largely shaped by their personal history, their relationships with the elderly and their other relatives, from how they perceive their caring role and their expectations of care. The intensity of the care experience is then the result of a combination of objective factors, different contexts and subjective perspectives adjudicated by the emotional dimension of the care.
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Josefa Palacios. Elderly care in Chile : policies for and experiences of family caregivers. Political science. Université Rennes 1, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017REN1G010⟩. ⟨tel-01679883⟩

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