Care in a transnational perspective

Solcà, Paola (2014) Care in a transnational perspective. In: International Course in Social Work: Migration in Europe - Challenges for Social Work, 28-29 November 2014, Bern. (Unpublished)

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The aging of the population has assumed such proportions to require a rethinking of the welfare systems and new solutions for elderly care. Home care providers are not able to ensure ongoing care for the elderly. Switzerland is called a home care society because informal care is guaranteed by families, especially women. Nowadays families increasingly engage migrants to take care of the elderly. Those women migrate in search of better job opportunities, trying to keep alive their family ties. The transnational perspective allows combining gender, migration and care work. The so called care migration can be analyzed in terms of national and regional characteristics: social policies, private and public providers of home care services and migration policies. It is also necessary to analyze the individual paths, relational networks and the transnational practices with the aim of identifying the conditions of work and life, the specificity and diversity of migration patterns and social ties. The situations of Eastern European migrants in Switzerland are very varied but we can observe some common traits: the difficulty of separation between work time and leisure time, the heaviness of care work, loneliness and isolation related to the domestic space, the ambivalence of the contractual relationships between caregivers and care managers, and the lack of social recognition. The challenges for social work are to improve the conditions of life and work of transnational workers as well as to ensure the quality of care work and caring of the elderly at home.

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