Experienced mature women

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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. The increased need for both personal assistance workers and meaningful employment opportunities for older workers in growing s of older home care aides. This study examined lifetime financial security and perceived advantages of older age in this field through interviews with 31 older home care aides.

Study participants experienced high levels of financial insecurity and perceived older workers as particularly well suited to the home care job. The consequences of this low-wage, low-status work are explored along with implications for social workers to advocate for improved conditions for these workers providing essential care to frail elders.

The fastest growing sector of the U. At the same time, unemployment, stagnant and declining wages, and thevariable performance of assets in defined contribution plans have left many older workers with inadequate retirement savings, leaving them little choice but to keep working Polivka, Low wages, allowing little cushion for saving have left many older adults financially insecure, a situation compounded by the Great Recession which has decimated retirement investments as well as the value of home equity.

This means many older women are either employed or interested in finding work. The rising need for personal care services is a parallel trend. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the job of personal care aide will be the fastest growing occupation between and , increasing by They are distinguished from home health aides i. These personal assistance workers go by many titles including personal care attendant, home care aide, and personal support specialist.

Older workers face discrimination in many sectors of the labor force Butricia, , but in the field of direct care, they tend to be welcomed for their reliability, life experience, and ability to relate to their older clients Rix, As older women are choosing, or being forced, to work later in life, is personal care work in their best interest?

But it is also low paid and lacking benefits, as is true for most caring work, generally relegated to women. Cleaning bodies as well as rooms, home care workers engage in intimate labor, a kind of toil that is at once essential and highly stigmatized, as if the mere touching of dirt or bodily fluids degrades the handler. This devaluation thesis assumes the unworthiness of the labor because of the race, class and gender of the workers.

Despite difficult work conditions, a ificant of home care aides remain in the field for many years, priding themselves on the fine care they provide to their clients. In the HCWRS, a sample of home care aides was tracked for 18 months to examine factors related to turnover and retention.

On the surface, home care work might appear to be a good job for older women given its flexibility, minimal training requirements, and opportunity for social interaction and meaningful work. But given the low wages and low status associated with personal care work, is it ethical to encourage older women to pursue this employment option?

Utilizing a feminist framework, the Older Worker Study was conceptualized to explore the experiences of these older workers more closely. Women in our society are socialized to do the caring work both in the home and in the market, with the duties in the two spheres often resembling one another. Cruikshank argues that the assumption that caregiving is best performed by women and that they are naturally suited to it relegates them not ony to the domestic sphere, but also to a weakened position in the public sphere.

The Older Worker Study sought to examine the effects of such societal expectations around caregiving for a sample of older home care workers through the following research questions:. What are the past, current and anticipated experiences of financial security and insecurity for older home care workers? How do older home care workers describe the advantages and disadvantages of their work for both older workers and the field of home care?

The preceding and larger HCWRS had a sample of workers recruited through 11 home care agencies covering all 16 counties of Maine. Between and , HCWRS study participants completed two mail surveys and one telephone interview. Forty-two study participants I completed interviews, lasting 20 to 45 minutes, from late August to early October, Interviews were tape recorded and transcribed verbatim by two research assistants. Emergent themes were fine tuned through discussion with a gerontological social work graduate student who had transcribed many of the older worker interviews and had been working as a research assistant on theHCWRS for two years.

Qualitative software NVivo 9 was utilized to facilitate data management and analysis. Relationships between certain demographic factors e. Data triangulation e. The 42 study participants invited to participate in the Older Worker Study ranged in age from 63 to 85 in the summer of and included only one man. The 31 individuals who agreed to participate included the one man, but not the oldest HCWRS worker who had retired after fracturing her hip. The participants of the Older Worker Study ranged in age from 63 to 80 with a mean age of Census Bureau, ; two identified as Native American; and two as multiracial.

Although unusual for an occupation which attracts many immigrant women on a national level, this sample had only two 6. Census Bureau, Four of the study participants Two of the study participants had not completed high school; 25 had a high school degree, with more than half of those having taken some college courses; and five had post-secondary degrees. All but six of the study participants The large majority of participants in the Older Worker Study Only six had received training or education that led to skilled, higher paying jobs, five of which were in the health care field three were health care technicians, one was a nurse, and one—with only a high school education—worked her way into a supervisory role during 30 years at a residential facility for children with disabilities.

The remaining 25 study participants arrived at their home care work after a lifetime of low-wage employment such as direct care, house cleaning, factory work, child care, retail, restaurant work, and farm work. For example, one year-old study participant, who was married and still doing home care at the time of the interview, said she began working at age 16 as a car hop, the beginning of a series of low-wage jobs:. What else did I do? Waitressing, I worked as a maid in a motel for a little while early on, uh shoe shop…Uh, factory, making shoes.

And I worked as the maintenance person in the Bangor mall, cleaning and whatever in the main areas of the mall. And home health care. She had three children and did not work for a time when they were young. I was fortunate enough to do that for 15 years. Another, year-old, divorced study participant, still doing home care, began work at 16 and responded when asked about her job history:. Oh my, have you got a long piece of paper?

I packed sardines, I worked as a cook, I cleaned houses, janitor at the schoolhouse, Urban Oil…I was a clerk. And um, let me think. I worked in the emergency room in New Britain, Connecticut. And I worked at Bangor State. This study participant also raised five children and was left with sole custody of them when her husband left her while the children were young. Many of the study participants had a hard time remembering the many jobs they had held.

One retired, married year-old study participant said:. I did all kinds of jobs. I worked in a dress shop and I worked in um grocery stores and meatpacking. Oh worked in laundry. When asked whether they had experienced any period of financial insecurity throughout their lives, all but three For some it was at a time of divorce, while raising children, that finances were particularly tight.

One study participant, with five children, moved in with an aunt who needed care as a way to make ends meet after her husband left her:. My husband never paid not one penny of child support. At that time, you could go over the border, so he lived in New Hampshire. Now, they [child support enforcement] can go in any state.

So I moved back to the town of Lubec, which I came from and I took care of my aunt and brought up my kids. Another study participant married four times before meeting her fifth and current husband at the time of the interview. Poor health and medical bills were another catalyst for financial insecurity. The oldest study participant, who was 80 years old and a widow at the time of the interview, spoke of the difficult times she and her husband had when he became sick. At the time, his work as a truck driver was their only income and he could not return to that work due to his disability.

He was not deemed eligible for Social Security Disability, and was six years shy of eligibility for retirement Social Security. She described that period of her life:. Well you know when my husband got sick, really sick, he was in the hospital for, oh well, over a year. And that was the only income. And um we had it real hard. And we were going to move back to Connecticut but then he got a job at the post office. These past financial hardships often translated into current situations that were also precarious.

Just over half of the study participants A few 9. Among those who said things were tough was a year-old, divorced woman who had had five children. She was not getting as many hours of home care as she wanted—which she believed was in part because her boss favored younger workers—and her Social Security was modest.

She described her situation:. And I have Social Security, which…when I started working, [the pay] was fifty cents an hour. We thought we got something when we got a dollar. This summer, I picked fiddlehe and froze them. I have a garden, I froze all that stuff and stuff like that. Uh, I shop a lot at like Save-a-Lots, you know. You just do what you have to do. Another year-old woman spoke of her husband being in a nursing home, which was a distance away.

Experienced mature women

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MATURE SATISFACTION - 19 Short Stories of Experienced Older Women