Place-Making through Media: How Media Environments Make a Difference for Long-Term Care Residents’ Agency

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Abstract

This paper explores the unique relationships care home residents have with communication media. Drawing on findings from an ethnographic case study at a long-term care site in British Columbia, Canada, I describe how care home residents’ everyday media practices are intertwined with their negotiations of longstanding attachments and new living spaces. The research draws connections between the spatiotemporal contexts of media use and residents’ experiences of social agency. Long-term care residents in this research were challenged to engage with the wider community, maintain friendships, or stay current with events and politics because their preferred ways of using communication media were not possible in long-term care. The communication inequalities experienced by care home residents were not simply about their lack of access to media or content but about their inability to find continuity with their established media habits in terms of time and place. While most research about communication media in care homes has been intervention oriented, this research suggests that long-term care service and funding policies require greater attention to create flexible, diverse, and supportive media environments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number27
Number of pages14
JournalSocieties
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • older adults’ media practices
  • social isolation in later life
  • social agency
  • person-centred care
  • life course perspective
  • communicative ecology mapping
  • focused ethnography
  • older adults' media biographies
  • long-term care

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