DFG approves international research project on the transnationalization of long-term care

June 27, 2016

The provision of elderly care by migrant care workers in private households can be observed in many countries, also in Germany. The preference of older people to receive care at home as well as overstrained family members and the lack of adequate and affordable care services are important reasons for this development. While the oftentimes precarious working conditions of migrant care workers have been the focus of several studies, only little is known about how care is delivered and negotiated in these arrangements. A new research project at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) will focus on this subject. The project will be supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

The Social Pedagogy work group at the JGU Institute of Education will examine, among other things, how care is provided in these households, how the desires, preferences, and needs of elderly persons in need of care are accounted for, and what care quality emerges in these arrangements. By looking at Germany and the Netherlands, the researchers will compare two countries with very different long-term care regimes and traditions. While old-age care in Germany is very much a family responsibility, in the Netherlands it is framed as a responsibility of the state.

"Given the social challenges caused by the growing demand for long-term elderly care and the lack of appropriate political responses, the research project will be of great significance both socially and politically," said Professor Cornelia Schweppe, head of the research project at the Mainz University. "We have known for a long time that care in private households, whether by family members and/or ambulatory care services, is by no means always 'good care'. The question of care quality in this rapidly expanding care arrangements is thus of high socio-political significance," stated Vincent Horn, research associate in Schweppe's research team.
The research project "Development and Significance of Transnational Elderly Care Arrangements" has been approved for three years and will be carried out in cooperation with Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. The project is financed by the German Research Foundation and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) as part of the Open Research Area (ORA) program.

Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz

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