Navigating the choppy waters to Nirvana: A critical reflective account of caring for ageing parents in the fourth age

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Abstract

This article revisits a paper and from an autoethnographic/critical reflective biographical approach re-examines seven cultural notions or myths, which may encourage ageism. It is framed within my experiential knowledge of caring for my ageing parents, with the tensions and challenges around problematising the value of expertise based on experience, communication, grief, and autonomy and freedom versus safety. The commentary emphasises that by analysing the impact of our personal life experiences, we can start to understand both the intended and unintended consequences of policy and practice affecting those in the fourth age. As a social work educator, I wanted to reflect upon how my tacit experiential knowledge, if made explicit, could impact upon my own and others' learning. The recent death of my father has allowed for a period of reflection on my own caring and indeed my professional social work experience, knowledge, skills and practice. It is argued that the ageing process is unequal as class and socio-economic factors, i.e. geography, age, gender, religion and ethnicity, all play parts in determining how someone ages, and indeed upon the care an individual older person receives. A fuller understanding of negotiating the role of one stakeholder, that of a family carer in the ageing process, is elicited in this paper.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalAgeing and Society
Early online date19 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Feb 2021

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