Elana Buch, “Inequalities of Aging: Paradoxes of Independence in American Home Care” (NYU Press, 2018)

How are the vulnerabilities of older adults in need of care and their care workers intertwined? In Inequalities of Aging: Paradoxes of Independence in American Home Care (New York University Press, 2018), Elana Buch considers this question and more. Using ethnographic methods, Buch enters the homes and lives of older adults who are receiving home care services in addition to becoming a part of two home care agencies to understand the lives of home care workers. This new book sheds light on the ins and outs of daily life for these two populations and contributes to the literature by considering how their lives are interdependent. Buch also considers the narrative around independence and how older adults continue to maintain their independence, as well as how home care workers help them to maintain it even when they are dependent on the worker. This book does a really nice job of sharing the lived experiences of both groups, while maintaining a focus on social inequality between and within these groups.

This book speaks widely to issues of social inequality. Readers across the board will find it interesting and accessible. Sociologists, gerontologists, and anthropologists may find it particularly useful for understanding care work in the states. This book would be a great addition to any upper level undergraduate or graduate level sociology of aging, or social inequality class.

Sarah E. Patterson is a postdoc at the University of Western Ontario. You can tweet her at @spattersearch.