Cadernos de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1678-4464
Print version ISSN 0102-311X
GIACOMIN, Karla C.; UCHOA, Elizabeth and LIMA-COSTA, Maria Fernanda F.. The Bambuí Health and Aging Study (BHAS): the experience with home care provided by wives of dependent elderly. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2005, vol.21, n.5, pp.1509-1518. ISSN 1678-4464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2005000500024.
This paper investigates the characteristics of caregiving and the experience of women that care for their elderly husbands in Bambuí, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Among the elderly population in this community, the authors interviewed ten wives, using a survey exploring the main themes on the subject of caregiving. The data were interpreted based on an anthropological model of analysis. This model places the interaction between the individual and the context in the center of the interpretative process, underlying the construction and expression of diverse forms of human experience. The results of the survey highlighted the role, responsibilities, and obligations of women in Brazilian society with respect to caregiving for dependent elders. Women are seen as "natural" caregivers, whereby it is their given obligation to take care of their husbands, providing all kinds of support. Both the individual in need of care and the caregiver live the reality of functional disability in a society lacking the proper mechanisms to provide for the elderly population. The current study clearly shows the need to systematize home caregiving in Brazilian society.
Keywords : Anthropology; Aged; Caregivers.