Date of Award

August 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Member

Marieke Van Puymbroeck

Committee Member

Stephen Lewis

Committee Member

Antionette Hays


The purpose of this mixed methods, single case study was to explore long-term care (LTC) employees’ attitudes towards age and gender. The intersection of Rosemary Garland-Thomson’s theory of feminist disability (2001) and Hailee Gibbons’ compulsory youthfulness theory (2016) provided the conceptual framework for this project. The sample consisted of 60 LTC direct care employees, all employed at the same organization, who completed an on-line survey during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey consisted of demographic questions and the Fraboni Scale of Ageism. Twenty-one of these employees participated in a 30 minute phone interview. Cultural artifacts were also collected. Although quantitative results showed no statistical significance, qualitative results suggest that employees do exhibit some ageist attitudes towards the residents for whom they care. Despite evidence that most employees felt a deep connection with residents, they detached themselves from the aging process. The theoretical framework lends hand in explaining how both ableism and ageism appeared to contribute to this detachment. Findings indicated employees’ interactions and attitudes towards residents were influenced by compassionate ageism, ableism, and internal identity, which resulted in caregiver validation and reward. Employees received validation and altruistic reward from positive interactions with what they perceived to be “ideal” residents; those who fit the stereotype of a nursing home resident, such as older, pleasant, and dependent. The perceived “ideal” residents varied by gender. Generally, female residents were expected to be more independent and at times viewed negatively when requesting assistance.



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