2005 volume 37(12) pages 2105 – 2120

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Milligan C, 2005, "From home to ‘home’: situating emotions within the caregiving experience" Environment and Planning A 37(12) 2105 – 2120

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From home to ‘home’: situating emotions within the caregiving experience

Christine Milligan

Received 23 September 2004; in revised form 21 December 2004

Abstract. Emotions are an integral part of our daily lives, affecting who we are and how we react to the people and places around us. This emotiospatial hermeneutic has particular resonance for understanding informal carers’ experiences of transitions in the place of care. Yet little work has explicitly addressed the link between emotions, care, and place. That which has focuses largely on community and the home, and largely ignores the transition of care from the home to care-home settings. Drawing on carer narratives from New Zealand, this paper examines how emotion and the affective entity of informal caregiving for frail older people is manifest and experienced as the site of care shifts from the private space of the home to the semipublic space of the residential care home. In doing so, the paper contributes, first, to conceptual debates around the geography of emotions, and, second, to a deeper understanding of how informal carers seek to create new identities for themselves as carers in the new place of care. Finally, drawing on debates around the meaning of home, I consider the extent to which informal carers can feel ‘at home’ caring for their spouse or close family member within care-home settings.

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