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Foster home care for the dependent aged : a study of the values and limitations of family placement in the care of the dependent aged Deildal, Robert Michaux

Abstract

The purpose of this study has been to determine the feasibility of introducing a foster home placement service for the aged in British Columbia, A number of social agencies have concerned themselves with old people who are no longer able to care for themselves, and are dependent upon others for many of their dependency needs. With many senior citizens, ability to function independently in the community is limited by problems of health, nutrition, or other basically economic considerations. Very often, family support, and help from relatives are not available, and they must seek assistance from social welfare agencies. At the present time, the resources offered by agencies are, for the most part, institutional, i.e., care in licensed boarding homes, nursing homes, hospitals et cetera. Institutional care is, of course, required for those whose dependency needs are acute. It is not considered the best resource, however, for those who are dependent to the extent where they cannot live alone, but whose dependency needs are not sufficiently grave to require Institutional protection. The theme of this study has been an exploration of the values of foster family placement as an additional and appropriate resource for the care of the aged. Social agencies in the Greater Vancouver and New Westminster areas were most co-operative in permitting the use of case files for purposes of research. Over fifty cases were examined, of which twenty-four were selected as conforming to the definitions outlined in Chapter II, Home visits were made in each case, and brief social histories obtained from both clients and foster guardians. The development of the criteria outlined in Chapter III has been based to some extent on comparable studies of placement services for the chronically ill, mentally ill, as well as for adoptive and foster children. In setting forth the implications of the study, emphasis is given to the professional requirements of the social work practitioners engaged in the finding of suitable foster homes, the selection of clients, and the supervision of those placed in foster care. Practical suggestions have been offered on subjects as, desirable physical standards of the prospective homes, the qualifications desired in those who assume the major responsibility for the care of the client, and the organization of community resources to facilitate the operation of the programme. The study not only illustrates the validity of establishing a programme of foster home placement for the dependent aged, but emphasizes the need of immediate action to alleviate the urgent housing problems of old people.

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