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Mixed motivations to provide formal care to older adults: lessons from a training program

  • Shiri Shinan-Altman (a1), Aviya Riabzev (a2) and Liat Ayalon (a1)



With the aging of the population, the demand for long-term services is increasing accordingly and the recruitment of paid caregivers to older adults has become a critical issue. Hence, there is a great need to train people in the care of older adults. This study examined motivations to participate in a new program, which aims to train young people (ages 19–25) to become paid caregivers for older adults.


The study is based on focus groups with program participants (N = 33) and on phone interviews with former participants (N = 8) and face-to-face interviews with staff members (N = 14). Transcripts were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.


Three major themes emerged: (1) “Motivations to participate in the program,” referred to participants’ motivations to work with older adults. (2) “Reduced motivations due to ambiguity of roles,” referred to the unclear definition of the care worker's role, which created a decrease in participants' motivations to provide care. (3) “Inadequate financial compensation,” concerned participants’ reduced motivation to participate in the program as a result of financial promises that were not realized.


Findings suggest that it is important to be cautious about the motivations for participation in the program because by emphasizing the difficult situation of older adults, one stresses the low status assigned to older adults, rather than positive attributes. It is also suggested that care workers should be financially rewarded, so that despite the difficulties that may arise during work, they will feel valued and will want to remain in the profession.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr. Shiri Shinan-Altman, Ph.D., Louis and Gabi Weisfeld School of Social Work, Bar Ilan University, Ramat-Gan 52900, Israel. Phone: +972-46180175; Fax: +972-37384042. Email:


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Mixed motivations to provide formal care to older adults: lessons from a training program

  • Shiri Shinan-Altman (a1), Aviya Riabzev (a2) and Liat Ayalon (a1)


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