The Work of Homecare for the Elderly: Constraints and Savoir Faire

By Christelle Avril

The Work of Homecare for the Elderly : Stress and Savoir-Faire.

The nature of stress experienced by homecare workers for the elderly is still largely unknown. This study will describe and analyse the work environment experienced by homecare workers for seniors; it is based on data collected mostly from participant observation. As in other service occupations, this work involves substantial physical and interpersonal stress, which is a source of difficulty. The one-on-one contact with the elderly seems particularly burdensome and all-encompassing, and leads these employees to evasive patterns of behavior. In order to cope with this particular stress, workers gradually acquire enough experience and expertise to adjust to the needs of their clientele. Not only do they learn to come to terms with the physical and psychical aspects of aging, but through their care, they also try to help the elderly regain certain faculties. As a result, the specific stresses of this job themselves become a source of professional satisfaction.

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