American Sociological Association

Stories of Dependency and Power: The Value of Live-In Elder Care in Israel

This article offers a qualitative empirical examination of the ways in which Israeli family members of elderly persons evaluate live-in elder care and translate their evaluations into monetary value. The author explores the relationship between family members’ views of appropriate wages for live-in elder care providers and their perceptions of their own power relations with their parents’ caregivers. The findings demonstrate that family members who perceive such power to be held one-sidedly, either by themselves or by their caregivers, also argue that the state’s minimum wage is appropriate for the work of caregiving. The findings also establish that family members who recognize codependence in their relationships with caregivers believe that live-in caregivers should receive a wage much higher than the minimum. Exposing the convoluted relationship between perceptions of power and perceptions of value in live-in care shifts our understanding of the possible mechanisms that shape the low monetary value assigned to care work.


Shiri Regev-Messalem