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The Nordic model: Evolutions in care and space for the dependant ageing in Sweden with some relevanc to Denmark and Norway
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Architecture, Architectural Design. (Arc Plan Research group)
2011 (English)In: International Conference: Innovations in nursing homes for people in situations of dependency: Architectural design and care model: 30th November to 1st December 2011. Organizers Caser Foundation for dependence with the collaboration of the Pilares Foundation for Personal Autonomy / [ed] Caser Foundation and Pilares Foundation, Madrid: Caser Foundation and Pilares Foundation , 2011, 1-36 p.Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper supplies an overview of present eldercare and architecture for the dependant ageing in the Nordic countries. Sweden is used as an example to detail the past and the present evolution of care and the spatial framework for this purpose. This description has mainly relevance to similar processes that are taking place in Norway and Denmark. In the Nordic countries, eldercare is part of the local authorities’ responsibilities towards the ageing population. The Nordic welfare model promotes the concept of home as the ideal place in which to grow old with or without age-related problems. From the outside, the model could be seen as a homogeneous welfare model for older people that supplies either home care services to allow for a prolonged ageing in place or an individually adjusted care and caring in sheltered housing for the dependent and frail senior Yet, eldercare in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden displays both dissimilarities and similarities. Based on available but rough statistics from the Nordic Council, the ideal balance between these possible outcomes seems to be achieved in Norway. Denmark and Iceland assume an extreme position on this Nordic continuum of eldercare, since they rely on either extensive home care services and sheltered housing or both. In contrast, Finland and Sweden constitute the other extreme with a smaller proportion of both home care services and eldercare for the dependant ageing within the sheltered housing. In the Nordic countries, the recurrent use of the architecture competition provides a window for understanding the evolution of appropriate space for the dependant during the 20th century. In this five country region, the architecture competition system is similar as to organisational form and use among commissioners. During the assessment process, the most adequate architectural solution is promoted by use of five fundamental criteria: 1) ingenuity (the degree of innovation of the submitted architectural design); 2) functionality and usability; 3) aesthetical, architectural and environmental qualities; 4) sustainable and technical performance; and 5) economical and long-term investments. Based on the Swedish example, the cyclic use of the competition on a national level during the 20th century has promoted various prototypes of appropriate architecture for the group of dependent and frail seniors. This process has been guided by a gradual definition of the concept of homelikeness that is related to political reforms of the social act in an inclusive direction. Based on architectural drawings from three Swedish competitions, this space has gone from being no more than the size of a single bed into becoming an individual flat of 30 to 40 m2. These flats have been organized in clusters with communal space for kitchening and socializing, a solution derived from the group living concept of the 1980s. The Nordic countries are preparing for the emerging ageing society. In Norway, new guidelines for the built environment have recently been published, while the Danish approach emphasizes the existential aspects of growing old. Sweden is searching for a renewal of housing for older people in general, both in ordinary housing and in residential care homes by use of the architecture competition. The  architectural development describes the ideo-political process of emphasizing the individual’s universal right to a place called home even in a situation of an age-related dependency on societal assistance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Madrid: Caser Foundation and Pilares Foundation , 2011. 1-36 p.
Keyword [en]
architecture, eldercare, residential care home
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-102706OAI: diva2:580838
International conference. Innovations in nursing homes for people in situations of dependency: Architectural design anc care model.30th November to 1st December 2011. Palacio de Congresos de Madrid. Paseo de la Castellana, 99

QC 20130109

Available from: 2013-01-10 Created: 2012-09-23 Last updated: 2013-01-10Bibliographically approved

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