Cherished possessions, home-making practices and aging in care homes in Kerala, India

Nikhil Pazhoothundathil, Ajay Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores how the material and imaginary aspects of emotions embedded in cherished possessions contribute to home-making practices at the scale of a formal care setting for older adults in a non-western context. This study examines three types of care homes with residents from different socioeconomic backgrounds in the state of Kerala, India. Data include in-depth interviews, observations, and photography with older adults in care homes. We identify three types of cherished possessions that are embodied with different roles and emotional qualities: first, religious artifacts that signify a sense of security in day-to-day life; second, possessions embedded with memories of past life events that elicit pride and a sense of continuity; and, third, possessions linked to memories of family members and pets, which reflect efforts to create a sense of co-presence. This paper contributes to a new dialogue on how empirical research on home-making practices can enrich and sustain the emotional well-being of older adults living in care homes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100706
JournalEmotion, Space and Society
Publication statusPublished - 08-2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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