In Sweden, eligibility to move to a nursing home is usually based on an individual needs assessment. In 2012, an amendment to the Social Services Act was enacted, giving persons with residential care the right to live with a spouse in the nursing home, even if the spouse is relatively healthy and does not need nursing care. In this article, two contrasting case studies of cohabiting couples are presented. These case studies are based on field observations and qualitative interviews with the couples and staff in two nursing homes in two Swedish municipalities. The article shows that local municipal guidelines, establishing who has the right to help and care, affect the ways that both the staff and the couple talk about the spouse’s rights and roles as a coresident in the nursing home. In the two cases, there were also different staff attitudes about the spouse’s need for support in the role as spousal caregiver.
The number of older people is increasing worldwide. Rural areas are of particular concern given the high proportion of older people and potential disadvantages associated with ageing in these areas. The subsequent social and economic “panic” has been a catalyst for research and policy focusing on promoting “healthy ageing.” However, a clear definition of healthy ageing does not exist in government policy, the health professions, or the literature. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine how eleven older rural Australians define healthy ageing and what factors facilitate or inhibit this process within their community. The findings show that participants defined healthy ageing as an attitude and sense of autonomy, which were related to connections with people, place, and activity. This study demonstrated the importance of individual community data in defining healthy ageing and the factors affecting it. The findings can be used to ensure that health-related programs, services, and policies are community-based, inclusive of older residents, and targeted to the needs of those they aim to serve.
As the number of older adults who live at home throughout later life increases, it is important to understand what makes a community livable—or “age-friendly”—for an aging population. We do not adequately understand dimensions of community participation in relation to older adults’ overall well-being, and current conceptualizations do not always reflect lived experiences of older adults. This multiple case study employs GPS mapping methods, interviews, and naturalistic observation to obtain an empirically grounded model of community participation for older adults. Findings include varied temporal patterns and unique spatial characteristics of participation; these findings suggest a need to re-conceptualize a community’s “age-friendliness” though a lens of older adults’ engagement in daily activities. Instead of conceptualizing age-friendliness as a list of features available in a community, these findings highlight the need for a more dynamic understanding of older adults’ ability to participate in the necessary and chosen activities of everyday life, thereby maximizing well-being.