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Cheminements et situations de vie des personnes âgées présentant des troubles mentaux graves : perspectives d’intervenants psychosociaux*

  • Bernadette Dallaire (a1), Michael McCubbin (a2), Mélanie Provost (a3), Normand Carpentier (a4) and Michèle Clément (a5)...
Abstract

Services for elders with severe mental illness (SMI) have major deficiencies, among them a lack of adequate psychosocial services. Some analysts have attributed this situation to “double stigmatization” targeting both ageing and mental illness in our societies. Using qualitative methods (23 semi-directed interviews, theme-based content analysis), our exploratory research aims to understand better the perceptions of psychosocial practitioners working in community and institutional settings about the elderly with SMI and their living situations. Our informants evoke living situations marked by a lack of support (isolation), of resources (financial precariousness/poverty) and of power (learned passivity), traits that are related not only to mental illness per se, but also to long term psychiatric institutionalization. For them, the current situation of elders with SMI is the end product of biographies in which life-course, illness-course and life in services and/or institutions join and, sometimes, become indistinguishable. Implications for psychosocial practices are discussed.

Les services offerts aux aînés aux prises avec des troubles mentaux graves (TMG) présentent des lacunes importantes, notamment le manque de services psychosociaux adéquats. Certains ont attribué cette situation à une « double stigmatisation » visant à la fois le vieillissement et la maladie mentale. À partir d’une démarche exploratoire fondée sur des méthodologies qualitatives (23 entrevues semi-dirigées, analyse de contenus thématique), notre recherche vise notamment à mieux connaître les perceptions des intervenants psychosociaux des milieux institutionnels et communautaires sur les personnes âgées atteintes de TMG et sur leurs situations de vie. Les intervenants font état de situations de vie marquées par le manque de soutien (isolement), le manque de ressources (précarité/pauvreté) et le manque de pouvoir (passivité acquise), des traits qui seraient liés non seulement à la maladie mentale elle-même, mais aussi à l’institutionnalisation psychiatrique à long terme. Pour eux, la situation actuelle des aînés avec TMG constitue l’aboutissement d’un parcours où histoire de vie, histoire de maladie et histoire dans les services et/ou les institutions se rejoignent et quelquefois se confondent. Les implications de ces résultats pour la pratique psychosociale sont discutées.

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Corresponding author
Adresse de correspondance: Bernadette Dallaire École de Service social Pav. Charles-De Koninck Université Laval Québec, Qc, G1V 0A6. Tel.: (418) 656-2131, poste 12899; télécopieur: (418) 656-3567 Courriel: (bernadette.dallaire@svs.ulaval.ca)
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Les auteurs tiennent à remercier les intervenantes et intervenants ayant participé à la recherche dont les résultats sont présentés ici, ainsi que les organisations qui ont soutenu leur participation. Ils remercient également le Conseil de la recherche en sciences humaines du Canada pour son appui financier à cette étude, dont le présent article constitue l’une des retombées.

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Canadian Journal on Aging / La Revue canadienne du vieillissement
  • ISSN: 0714-9808
  • EISSN: 1710-1107
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