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Caring at a Distance: Working Women, Rural to Urban Migration and the Compassionate Care Challenge.

All CFWW resources : 556KB PDF

Published: 2007

Author(s): Gillian Joseph, Belinda Leach and Susan Turner

This study explores the intersections of caregivers' practices and the practices of service organizations in the health, home and continuing care systems and highlights the practices that directly link clients and their caregivers into policy processes.

Migration from rural to urban communities is a life-long process for a family involving complex and shifting decisions about migration, labour market activity, and care giving/receiving in which gender is a primary factor. Care provider and recipient are part of a cycle of rural in and out-migration that connect social policy, family members, elder caregivers and their workplaces in ways that are not yet fully understood. This preliminary study shifts the conceptualization of rural to urban migration away from one that views it as a single event, to that of a process that takes place and is managed at different stages in the family life of most Canadians, drawing in multiple actors with multiple roles. The study contains new discoveries about how working women who migrate from rural communities manage eldercare for those they leave behind, and how women young and old make associated decisions over a lifetime about if, when and where to move.

Employed women caregivers who work in urban areas and provide care to rural elderly must manage to pull together what resources they can to ensure the adequate, appropriate and best possible care for an older person living at home or in a facility. The tensions during decision making processes that families undergo, especially regarding where the care recipient should live, have family repercussions that make visible the connections among the organization of policy, the practices of service organizations, and the effectiveness of urban-to-rural caregivers' work. These connections are explored in this report.

The study conceptualizes and employs a unique policy lens, and explores the intersections of caregivers' practices and the practices of service organizations to shed light on policy practice in action. Bringing to light the work people do in the multiple sites of the health, home and continuing care systems, this report highlights the practices that directly link clients and their caregivers into policy processes. We argue that an improved understanding of the changing needs of the elderly and their caregivers would benefit from a reconceptualized approach to rural-urban migration that draws on the extensive literature in the area of "transnational families" and puts care relationships at different stages in the lifecycle at its centre. With a better understanding of the spatial and temporal dynamics of caregiving in Canada and the links of policy organization to caregivers' experiences that are brought to light in this report, though highlighting the unique issues associated with rural eldercare and migrations, a range of areas of policy practice are identified for change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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