Trent English professor Dr. Sally Chivers is on a mission to ensure the bigger problems challenging nursing home care receive the attention they deserve.
Care Home Stories: Aging, Disability and Long-Term Residential Care, a book co-edited by Professor Chivers and featuring chapters written by nursing home residents, family members and staff, along with historians, sociologists, and literary and cultural critics, challenges the widely-held notion that nursing homes are “a personal, social and moral failure” – a view strengthened by “the popular record that turns them into haunted houses.” As a result, says Professor Chivers, pressing issues, such as privatization by stealth, over regulation, lack of funding and inadequate care time, are being overlooked.
“We know that better stories are out there, so we set out to gather them while also inviting scholars to offer rich critiques of popular stories,” says Prof. Chivers.
To help with her ongoing research into aging and disability in the public sphere, Prof. Chivers has enlisted the help of graduate students at Trent such as Sandy Robinson, a masters student in the Public Texts program who is currently conducting research on how age is represented in public documents.
“Trent offers an unparalleled opportunity to work across what are boundaries in other universities,” says Prof. Chivers. “Early on I shared an office hallway with a philosopher and a historian. The conversations we had, and the way we were able to watch each other work, is one of the intangible but invaluable benefits of how the college system at Trent is integral to faculty.
“As well, the ability to teach cross-listed courses from within three departments to students gaining credit in six different disciplines presses me to stay on top of developments within these fields. My research couldn’t work the way it does without my teaching and, importantly, vice versa. My teaching builds on my research in form as much as in content.”