Embodied care: affective touch as a facilitating resource for interaction between caregivers and residents in a care home for older adults

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This article analyses how caregivers use affective touch as a resource to facilitate interaction. Through touch, caregivers construct positive socio-emotional relationships with their residents. The analysis of micro-level interaction is based on an interactional sociolinguistic framework, and reveals how caregivers display affection and intimacy while assisting the residents in everyday situations in a care home. All of the examples involve touching a person's shoulder, stroking or giving half-embraces, typical resources used to construct affiliation between caregivers and residents. This article illustrates how affective touch facilitates interaction by regulating participation and calming down residents, by mitigating the controlling aspect of caring, and by fostering a positive interpersonal relationship. The care situations presented in this article contain crucial pauses within talk that are used to construct a peaceful atmosphere. During these crucial moments, embodied action effectively indicates an orientation to listening and establishes a presence to accomplish the actions in that situational talk. This analysis contributes to the studies on embodied interaction and on interpersonal relationships in care for older adults.(1)

Original languageEnglish
Article number20180036
JournalLinguistics vanguard : multimodal online journal
Issue numbers2
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 6121 Languages
  • language and aging
  • care home
  • interaction
  • touch
  • affective
  • TALK

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