Bent Greve

Long-Term Care: Universality Withering Away in a Nordic Welfare State?

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Long-Term Care; Welfare Technology; Re-Enablement; Universalism; Nordic Welfare States.

Most welfare states are seeing a greying of the population as people are living longer, and also as a consequence of fertility rates having been relatively low for some time. It has been argued that this causes a strong pressure on the economic sustainability of the welfare states, while at the same time also opens the way for the risk that the elderly in need of care do not get the necessary care. This economic and care pressure has caused a search for new options and possibilities in the delivery of long-term care in Nordic countries. This includes strategies of rehabilitation and re-enablement of the elderly, and also the use of welfare technology as a way of overcoming the pressure, while at the same time helping the elderly to be able to stay as long as possible «in their own life». However, despite the fact that many of these instruments are a positive way of supporting the elderly, their use has raised new issues of loneliness. This is because the increase in lifeexpectancy brings with it a higher risk when becoming old of having fewer family members and friends, and this combined with less mobility increases the risk of being lonely. A concurrent challenge comes from the impact of the variety of services for the elderly, given local variations in Denmark, including the increasing use of private providers. This variation might imply a reduced universality of service provision in the Danish service welfare state.

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