Excellent Elderly Care – how does Sweden do it?
“People worry they might NOT get into a council nursing home. That’s how popular they are. But cutbacks mean every 4th place has disappeared in the last 12 years.”
The Swedish experience of elder care is dramatically different to the Scottish one. The “People’s Home” (Folkhemmet) ideal is that only the highest standards are good enough for the people. Excellent public services are designed to remove the build-up of demand from the rich for separate, private facilities – and this has worked in a society with relatively high taxes and low income differentials. The worry in Sweden today is that cuts will create underfunded Old Folk’s Homes and those council services will lose the middle class – and their support for high quality public services.
Marta Szebehely is a professor of Social Work at Stockholm University. She has been studying care services, social policy and gender perspectives since the mid 1980s.
She says; “Elderly care is not just an expense. We regard kindergarten spending as an investment in the future of society and workforce. We could regard elderly spending the same way because it allows children (especially women) to keep working. No decent formal elder care means women can’t work.”
All of this has huge relevance for Scotland where council-run and some private elder care centres have a poor reputation and the Scottish Parliament is debating how to care for rising numbers of elderly people and cut costs.
This joint meeting between Nordic Horizons and the Cross Party Group on Elderly and Ageing was hosted by Sandra White MSP at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday April 16th 2013.
Professor Szebehely gave a presentation entitled ; “Long term care policies for older people in Sweden: are there lessons to learn?”
Download her Excellent Elderly Care presentation here.
Her presentation was also recorded. You might want to download her Powerpoint sides and follow along as you listen to her below –
We also recorded the entire hour long question and answer session. It is detailed and some contributors are not entirely on microphone all the time. It is a large download (around 40+ Mb).