Paradoxes in the Care of Older People in the Community: Walking a Tightrope

Ethics and Social Welfare 8 (1):39-56 (2014)

The expansion of the older population suggests that there will be significant numbers in need of care and support in their own home environment. Yet, little is known about the kind of situations professionals are faced with and how they intervene in the living environment of older people. Qualitative data were collected over a period of 1.5 years from a multi-disciplinary community-based geriatric team in the Netherlands, and participant observations carried out. Forty-two cases discussed within the team meetings were analysed. Results demonstrate that providing care to older people is a dynamic process and revolves around various paradoxes as experienced by professionals. This is illustrated by presenting three paradoxes that emerged within the data: respecting autonomy versus preserving safety; the care needs of the care recipients versus the capacity of their informal carers to cope; and holding a formal orientation versus a tailored orientation on tasks. Providing care in the home environment of older people requires from professionals a continuous anticipation of (un)expected evolutions in situations of their care recipients. In order to optimally support older people professionals need ‘professional discretion’. They must be supported to systematically reflect on and legitimize their intervention strategies.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/17496535.2013.776092
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 39,545
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Creating Caring Institutions: Politics, Plurality, and Purpose.Joan Tronto - 2010 - Ethics and Social Welfare 4 (2):158-171.
The Care Perspective and Autonomy.Marian A. Verkerk - 2001 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 4 (3):289-294.

View all 16 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Gods of Life.Neil Elliott - 1974 - New York: Macmillan.


Added to PP index

Total views
23 ( #330,801 of 2,325,374 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #519,117 of 2,325,374 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature