Thursday, February 25, 2010 10 am Pacific, 11 am Mountain, noon Central, 1 pm EST, 7:00 Sweden, 20:00 Israel, 15:00 Japan
Cultural Values, Career and Caregiving: An International Perspective
Many researchers and practitioners realize that engaging in a caregiving role and the experience of that role is inseparable from cultural factors that include nationality, race/ ethnicity, gender, and values. Different cultural groups have varied expectations for care giving and the kinds of social network resources available also vary across countries. This discussion will address issues of career, caregiving and cultural values through examination of the caregiving experiences in several nations around the world.
Dr. McCall received her degrees in Human Development and Aging from UC Davis (B.S.) and UC San Francisco (PhD) and has been actively involved in community housing and services for very-low-income and minority elders for 25 years in the San Francisco East Bay Area. Her main areas of research include cross-cultural perspectives on cultural values and social policies for older persons, with a focus on Japan and the U.S. and the field of empowerment of older persons in health, housing, and caregiving.
MARY MCCALL, PHD
Saint Mary's College of California
MORAGA, CA 94575
Abstract for upcoming 2010 book
Supporting Elders in Various Cultural Contexts: The Role of Governments, Markets, and Civil Society in Israel, Japan, Sweden and the United States
As nations around the world face the common prospect of aging populations, they also encounter unique circumstances in their specific societies that provide the parameters within which they must strive to meet the needs of older citizens.
The goal of this research project is to analyze how the intersecting roles of three entities:
(a) government programs, (b) economic markets, and (c) civil society (such as the individual, family, volunteer organizations, etc.) operate in four countries (Israel, Japan, Sweden, and the United States) with a variety of welfare systems and family cultures.
We shall discuss and analyze how the above three entities have changed over time during the last two decades and how the four nations work to adapt to aging populations. Furthermore, we shall compare whether or not strategies are developed from a bottom-up or top-down perspective in the process of designing programs and policies that most efficiently and effectively address needs of older persons. We shall explore what we can learn from different societies about the interaction between the government, market, and civil society and the possibilities to create nations in which all can live and age well.
One key question for the project is to discuss and analyze how these processes are going on in the countries which are our focus of interest. Can we observe a development where different countries are adopting the same solutions heading towards a ‘welfare mix'? Or are they adopting solutions that indicate a ‘path dependency’ in which cultural contexts have a strong impact on how the systems for supporting older citizens are designed? In the first phase of the project, we shall analyze these issues.
Activity on Caregiver Strengths and Areas of Growth and Challenge
The set of reflection questions below are ones that I have created out of my own personal experiences of thinking about why I do what I do for my parents, and then also from my research experience of coming to understand the crucial role that culture and society play in the caregiving experiences of people. A reflection on and assessment of the sources of motivation – internal and external and sources of support – internal and external – for caregivers can assist them in identifying what their strengths and areas of growth and challenge are. I believe that the more conscious and intentional we can be in our caregiving experiences, the more we can maximize the positive aspects of this intense experience while hopefully minimizing the negative. I offer these questions with that goal in mind.
- What are my personal values around providing care to this person? It is a role I freely choose? Why? If not freely, what are the factors that are leading me to take this role? How do I feel about that? How will I fulfill these responsibilities given my feelings about it? What other resources will I need to do that (see below).
- If I am freely choosing this, then how do I line up other priorities in relationship to this role – my own children, spouse, friends, work, volunteer, leisure activities, etc.? Clarifying the order of priorities can help ease choice points because you know what is more important in a given situation. Are there things that I am doing that run counter to my values – if so, why am I doing them?
- What can I uniquely offer in this situation and what can perhaps be provided by another or other means – e.g., emotional support vs. practical support such as shopping, transportation to appointments, etc.
- What are the values I bring to my caregiving role, and how do those support me in doing this work right now?
- At work: what obstacles do I face?
- At work: what resources do I have? Examples: flex-time options (even if temporarily); job sharing options; EAP – Employee Assistance Programs that offer Elder Support programs; family leave policies; working at home some time during the week; a health plan that covers exercise programs (gym access, etc.)
- At home: what obstacles do I face?
- At home: what resources do I have? Examples: young adult/teen children who can help out in some specific, appropriate, and limited way; room to accommodate a care-receiver, even if short-term; emotional/instrumental support from neighbors (who can watch your children when you need to attend to your care-receiver).
- What areas do I feel a lack of mastery in? How can I increase my sense of mastery? (Reading, seminars, support groups, exercise, meditation, prayer)
- What community resources are available to me and/or my care recipient? Area Agency on Aging; respite care; adult day health centers; transportation/ meals services; support groups at community, senior or medical centers.
- What health insurance resources do I have? Home health care; respite care; transportation; choreworkers (help with activities of daily living).
MY PERSONAL ACTION PLAN FOR FAMILY PLANNING
- TAKE TIME TO CLARIFY MY VALUES
- SEEK HELP FROM FAMILY, FRIENDS AND PROFESSIONALS
- INVOLVE MY FAMILY IN DECISIONMAKING
- SHARE THE CHALLENGES OF CAREGIVING WITH OTHERS
- BECOME EDUCATED ON THE ISSUES I’M FACING THROUGH RESEARCH & INVESTIGATION
- FIND A GOOD DOCTOR
- WORK ON ACCEPTING MY EMOTIONS
- SEEK OTHERS WHO UNDERSTAND MY EMOTIONS
- JOIN A SUPPORT GROUP
- ACCEPT MY IMPERFECTIONS
- ACCEPT THE IMPERFECTIONS OF OTHERS
- FORGIVE MYSELF & OTHERS
- TAKE CARE OF MY OWN NEEDS - PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, SPIRITUAL, INTELLECTUAL, AND SOCIAL
- KEEP UP WITH ACTIVITIES I ENJOY
- PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
- SET BOUNDARIES ABOUT WHAT I CAN REALLY DO
- RECOGNIZE WHEN I AM BURNED OUT AND SEEK HELP
- TAKE THINGS ONE MOMENT, ONE DAY AT A TIME
- FIND SOME JOY EVERY DAY!!
An Action Plan can help you to gain a sense of control over your life which can lead to a greater sense of calm, which helps maintain healthy physical and mental health. Everyone’s plan is different, as it reflects each person’s values, goals, and needs. Taking time to reflect on your values, emotions, practical needs, obstacles and resources can clarify and focus your energy in order to maximize the best outcomes for you and your family.
There are some suggestions here about the kinds of things you might include
in your Action Plan. These may not all apply to you, so think of others that meet your specific needs and goals.
Having an Action Plan can help you when you are feeling lost or un-centered
and need a reminder of what you have agreed to do with and for yourself.
Remember that facing difficult phases of our lives and the challenges those pose for us is hard, but each of us can find the ways that we can be most genuinely ourselves, while also allowing others to be themselves. Working together from a place of common values or a shared understanding of different values can make the journey less stressful than it might otherwise be, and we can work to find moments of joy and gratitude in each day.
Mary McCall, PhD – Gerontological Consultant – firstname.lastname@example.org – 510-435-3493
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This is Dr. Sally Gelardin with Careerwell Tele-Interviews. Our speaker today is Dr. Mary McCall, a professor and administrator at St. Mary's College in California, who received her degrees in Human Development and Aging from UC Davis (B.S.) and UC San Francisco (PhD) and has been actively involved in community housing and services for very-low-income and minority elders for 25 years in the San Francisco East Bay Area. Dr. McCall's main areas of research include cross-cultural perspectives on cultural values and social policies for older persons, with a focus on Japan and the U.S. and the field of empowerment of older persons in health, housing, and caregiving.
On March 18, 2008, I met Mary through two other colleagues who are active in the aging movement, Gloria Taffee and Mary Lynne Schoenbeck. We discovered that we are both fans of Sunny Hansen, an internationally renowed career theorist whom I shall interview on May 13. Over lunch at Scott's Seafood Grill at Jack London Square in Oakland, upon hearing about all her research and work with caregivers, I invited Mary to contribute to the NCDA monograph, Career & Caregiving : Empowering the Shadow Workforce of Family Caregivers, published last year. Shortly thereafter, she wrote a beautiful article on "The First Responder." Could you tell us, Mary, who the First Responder is and how you came to write about first responders and came to be interested in older persons and caregiving?
- Why should career professionals be interested in this topic?
- What is impact of social policies on working caregivers around the world?
- How do social policies around the world relate to social policies in U.S.?
- What is a ‘welfare mix'? Are the four countries that you studied adopting a welfare mix or are they adopting solutions that indicate a ‘path dependency’ in supporting programs for older citizens?
- Why should college career counselors be interested this topic? (growth of aging baby boomers, diverse cultural values of students, grandchildren caring for grandparents, China: 4-2-1).
- How are older workers around the world coping with caregiving challenges?
- You went to Japan last summer, so can you highlight some major points of your research related to caregiving and career? How does Japan's policy's related to Sweden, U.S. and Israel? How are things changes?
- How do cultural values relate to caregiving around the world?
- How does healthcare fit in the U.S.? Universal health care? In-home care model?
- What is big picture of life care over the lifespan? Integrated life span model of work, education, leisure, and care?
- Discuss special edition of Journal of Aging Social Policy, international perspectives on long-term policy in 21st Century.
Thank you, Mary, for your worldview on career and caregiving challenges and perspectives.
Listeners, I welcome you to join me in conversations with next month's inspriational career experts:
- 3/11/10 Renee Rosenberg, Keeping Yourself Moving Forward in the Job Search: Creating Curiousity from Depression
- 3/18/10 Elisabeth Harney, Helping People with Criminal Records from Self Sabotage to Landing a Job
- 3/25/10 Mike Marriner (Roadtrip Nation), Define Your Own Road in Life
Careerwell will publicize for subscribing organizations onsite speaking engagements of past and future Careerwell speakers, so send me announcements to post.
For Careerwell Tele-Interviews, this is Dr. Sally Gelardin.