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The power of food: mediating social relationships in the care of chronically ill elderly people in urban Indonesia


van Eeuwijk, Peter (2007). The power of food: mediating social relationships in the care of chronically ill elderly people in urban Indonesia. Anthropology of Food, S3:1-23.

Abstract

The preparation of food and drink is regarded as pivotal to care of chronically sick elderly people in urban Indonesia. Their meals are cooked solely by close household members. The majority of the elderly sick take part in the joint daily meals that serve as important arenas of social interaction and information sources. Continued commensality and participation in the sharing of food during festivities and ceremonies thus represents a vital source of social identity and social involvement for older people. However, many of the chronically ill elderly patients in this study have to comply with certain dietary restrictions. Chronic disease such as hypertension, diabetes and rheumatism thus change the nature of the patient-carer relationship by introducing the notions of trust and control. The patient has to trust the special, “healthy” treatment, that is to say, the healthy diet that is provided by his/her caregiver. On the other hand, the caregiver exerts power by controlling dietary intake, thus monitoring the elderly patient’s compliance with prescribed therapy.

Abstract

The preparation of food and drink is regarded as pivotal to care of chronically sick elderly people in urban Indonesia. Their meals are cooked solely by close household members. The majority of the elderly sick take part in the joint daily meals that serve as important arenas of social interaction and information sources. Continued commensality and participation in the sharing of food during festivities and ceremonies thus represents a vital source of social identity and social involvement for older people. However, many of the chronically ill elderly patients in this study have to comply with certain dietary restrictions. Chronic disease such as hypertension, diabetes and rheumatism thus change the nature of the patient-carer relationship by introducing the notions of trust and control. The patient has to trust the special, “healthy” treatment, that is to say, the healthy diet that is provided by his/her caregiver. On the other hand, the caregiver exerts power by controlling dietary intake, thus monitoring the elderly patient’s compliance with prescribed therapy.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
390 Customs, etiquette & folklore
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2007
Deposited On:13 Jul 2018 08:59
Last Modified:24 Sep 2019 23:26
Publisher:Anthropology of Food
ISSN:1609-9168
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:http://journals.openedition.org/aof/1732
Related URLs:https://journals.openedition.org/aof/2052

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