In-home elder care. The case of Italy: the badante

Rosa Maria Paniccia, Fiammetta Giovagnoli, Andrea Caputo


From the emergency of the progressively aging population, expectations of 26 families from Centre-South Italy were explored with regard to the figure of badante (the private family assistant) who was required for in-home care of their elder members. Families were asked why and for what reasons they necessitated badanti; interviews were then examined by Emotional Text Analysis. Results highlight that families consider assistance mainly as a community issue rather than a family one, in contrast with the model of  “Mediterranean” welfare adopted in Italy. Death is considered as the only issue the whole family has to face, while traditionalist culture promoted by the “ambivalent familism” of the State assigns family’s females to handle all problems of caring for not self-sufficient elderly members. Badante is represented as a strangeness that releases family’s resources and consents families to think about youth and future. Psychology is never mentioned; family does not expect to receive any help from psychology with regard to this relevant problem of social coexistence. The research study suggests the importance of an offer of psychological intervention on problems concerning the aging of population, by promoting psychological profession in terms of both competence and image, alongside of the intervention which is exclusively based on diagnosis/therapy/rehabilitation for elderly people.


elder, in-home care, family, marginalization, text analysis.

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Rivista di Psicologia Clinica. Teoria e metodi dell'intervento

Rivista Telematica a Carattere Scientifico Registrazione presso il Tribunale civile di Roma (n.149/2006 del 17/03/2006)

ISSN 1828-9363