Bring me my alcohol!—On the continuum of pleasure and pain

Regina Christiansen*, Anette S. Nielsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Alcohol use has been recognized as a challenge in eldercare and social care, and some anticipate that problems related to alcohol use will increase in the future as the current adult generation has high alcohol consumption rates. Accordingly, it is suggested that care workers are at risk of becoming passive bystanders to the destructive lifestyles of vulnerable older adults and even facilitating these lifestyles. In the present paper, we suggest that alcohol exacerbates and underscores inherent difficulties in eldercare, such as finding an appropriate balance between the personal freedom of the older adult and the responsibility of the care worker to provide care. The specific focus in the paper regard the communication and interaction involving values between people in eldercare in cases of problematic alcohol-related situations to uncover the difficulties. We found it noteworthy that the objectives and perspectives of older adults, care workers, managers and relatives have implications regarding their interactions and communications because their varying experiences involve values that are not necessarily aligned. Sometimes, care workers have no choice but to act against what, in the public sphere and to the other care workers, is ruled out by virtue of their professional ethics. It is suggested that care workers describe and judge situations where alcohol is present paradoxically by virtue of their professional ethics, yet regulate their care to preserve the dignity of older adults, even when they find the situation to be an apparent dilemma.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12403
JournalNursing Philosophy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Pain
  • Pleasure


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