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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Aging in Place: Smith, Media Texts and the Invisible Gendered Caregiver

  • Author(s): Storelli, Elizangela
  • et al.

This paper addresses a hidden variable underlying the recent phenomena of ―aging in place.‖ That variable is the degree to which aging in place relies on women‘s caregiving. Seeking to understand the connection between aging in place and gendered caregiving, and to explore the effects of aging in place on the social condition of women caregivers, this paper utilizes a feminist theoretical perspective presented by Dorothy E. Smith to examine popular texts on aging in place. Smith suggested that texts are means by which the male dominated relations of ruling exercise power over women by patterning the actual daily existence of women‘s lives (Smith 1990). Adopting this foundation, this paper considers texts on aging in place with the objective of learning how the texts pattern the aging in place process and how the process creates and reproduces power over women and maintains gender inequality. Popular texts on aging in place describe the process as one that both provides independence and can be independently achieved. By ignoring and devaluing the work of caregivers involved in the aging in place process, these texts ultimately work to reproduce women‘s financial disadvantages and limit women‘s participation in positions of power.

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