Though many have claimed that industrialization resulted in the emergence of nursing homes, this conjunction of events remains to be explained. This article examines the differential use of the nursing home in three agricultural communities on the Great Plains: the Old Order Amish, the Hutterian Brethren and the Alexanderwohl Mennonite. Using life-history interviews, nursing home registries, data from fieldwork, and census records, the article demonstrates that the structure of the Mennonite 'household formation' required adjunct residential care for the elderly, while the Amish and Hutterian 'community formations' did not. This comparison shows that while all three groups experienced industrialization, only the Mennonites introduced the nursing home. The article argues that it is the internal structure of the formation that elderly are located within that accounts for the emergence of nursing homes, not the inexorable effects of industrialization.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Issues, ethics and legal aspects
- Health Policy