Rivista per le Medical Humanities

Graziano Martignoni
rMH 30, 2015, 13-16

Medical Humanities as the human ecology of life

Today we’ve come to a confrontation, which sometimes takes the form of dialogue, other times conflict, between a cure built on evidence and one based on narration. With the former, research of evidence is at stake, while with the latter, it is the listening for a trace. A trace that may become a message and sometimes even a story. Narration seeks traces of a wounded existence and inhabits them. This contrasts with the instrument par excellence that medicine utilises, the scalpel, which separates, classifies, penetrates the body to take away from it that “foreign matter” we call disease. Instead, the narrative message gives hospitality to the disease as a condition of existence. What then does teaching signify for Medical Humanities and for narration? How do you train towards that subtle knowledge of a sensitive soul, which belongs more to an order of analogy and correspondences than to that of separations?

Stefano Cavalli
rMH 30, 2015, 67-73

Fragility and health inequalities in senior citizens

After having defined the concepts of vulnerability, fragility, and inequality, based on a number of results from the “Vivre/Leben/Vivere” research, conducted on a federal level, the article examines the health conditions of the elderly population resident in the Ticino region. Individuals who are 65 years and over make up a very heterogeneous group, and the impact of a social economic status does not vanish once they are no longer in the workforce. If the majority of senior citizens are in relatively good health, the common characteristic of what is called the “fourth age”, or those over 75 years of age, is neither disease nor dependence, but fragility. This does not mean that all young seniors are in perfect shape and that “older” seniors are, without exception, suffering from multiple illnesses. One out of two seniors between 65 and 79 years of age is vulnerable in at least one of the three dimensions taken into consideration (health, economic, relational). Moreover, the level of education, professional status, and income have an impact on the health of the elderly population and, consequently, affect the quality of life in old age.

Mara Tognetti Bordogna
rMH 30, 2015, 74-80

The vulnerability of migrant women

The contribution underlines the different forms of vulnerability affecting migrant women: starting from the specific ones innate in the process itself, up to those determined by living in a new context. Migration requires individuals to reposition themselves, a redefinition of themselves, and new social and family roles. In the active role that women migrants hold, regardless of the reason behind this choice, what is important are the costs and the fronts on which the diverse forms of vulnerability are revealed. It is the health of these women that is a topic of particular vulnerability, since it constitutes the only true capital of those who undertake this journey, yet, precisely because of these migratory and working conditions, it can run down quickly. The article pays great attention to the forms of vulnerability affecting young, adolescent women.

Paola Solcą
Angelica Lepori Sergi
rMH 30, 2015, 81-85

Transnational migrants and care work

In several countries, the aging of the population has, by now, assumed such proportions as to require rethinking welfare systems and new solutions for the care of the elderly. In the Ticino region, home care services are not able to provide ongoing care for the elderly. Women, daughters, who are professionally active, are no longer able to care for their parents. Here, mainly Eastern European migrants seek domestic work and co-residential care-giving. These are workers who migrate in search of better job opportunities, trying to keep their family ties alive in their countries of origin. The work and life situations of the migrants encountered are very diverse. Yet, certain common traits emerge: the difficulty in separating work time and free time, the burden of care-giving work, psychological stress and fatigue, loneliness and isolation in relationships within the domestic space, the ambivalence of contractual relationships with the families in which they work, and poor social recognition. The welfare of the migrant affects the quality of the care work given to the person being cared for. It is, therefore, necessary to monitor the conditions of the work and life of co-resident workers, in order to promptly identify situations of discomfort, and physical and psychological fatigue, so as to simultaneously promote the process of social inclusion.