chapter  12
Gender and Old Age: Lessons from Spousal Care Work
Pages 26

Age relations stratify such that, despite their "adult" status, old people are devalued and excluded from equal participation in daily life. In academic research, the effects of age relations are apparent in both the topics explored and the age groups selected for study. To be sure, scholars may focus on different age groups and generally do not study all of them; but few feminists focus on old women or old age. Feminist discussions of informal care work are based on young and middle-aged women who care for children and, occasionally, parents (e.g., Cancian and Oliker 2000), effectively making their care work the normative experience. Old age, when considered at all, appears in the form of an old person who receives care and is discussed in terms of the burden that this presents to younger women. Old women and men, as providers or receivers of care, remain invisible.