Social and humanistic gerontology have challenged the narratives of pessimism and decline embedded in bio-medical models of aging and care. One stream of criticism comes from literature about active ageing, and another from literature on person-centred care. A common concern is how to promote well-being during old age. This study explores the possibilities of promoting well-being and person-centred care practices in the context of home-based elderly care. It is based on qualitative interviews and observational data from two rural municipalities in Northern Norway. Using descriptive-interpretive qualitative research methods, we have explored the met and unmet needs of 28 older adults receiving home-based care services. The interviews revealed that their needs for medical treatment and practical assistance in the home were largely accommodated for. However, they had needs that frequently remained unaddressed, particularly the need for social interaction and for engaging in meaningful everyday activities outside the house. What is experienced as meaningful to our participants is embedded in local landscapes and practices, and in their personal biographies and bodily experiences. We show how carers and local communities may promote well-being by accommodating for embodied experiences that create a sense of connectedness to the land, history and people.
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The project “Ageing at home: Innovation in home-based elderly care in rural parts of Northern Norway” was financed by the Regional Research Program of Northern Norway (RFF Nord). The program required cooperation between researchers and public or private organisations in Northern Norway, and the two municipalities in question participated as partners. Thus, the two municipalities were chosen based on geographical and demographical characteristics.
Qualitative research encompasses a wide range of approaches, including pluralistic approaches combining different methodological traditions (see for example Frost et al. 2010; Taber 2010). We agree with Elliot and Timulak (2005: 148) that emphasising brand names and minor differences between different approaches can be confusing and proprietary, and take a generic approach that emphasises common qualitative methodological practices.
The names used in this article are pseudonyms, with the exception of the couple running the Thursday Club. They are, according to their own wishes, referred to by their real names.
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We would like to thank the municipal project partners for their participation in the project. Thanks to Susanne Bygnes and Annelieke Driessen for their valuable comments on earlier versions of this paper. We also thank the research group on innovation and welfare at the Nordland Research Institute.
This work was supported by The Regional Research Fund Northern Norway [grant number 257019], which is part of The Research Council of Norway. The funding source had no involvement in study design, the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the article for publication.
Statement of Ethical Approval
This study was approved by the Norwegian Centre for Research Data (NSD), reference number 48366. Approval from NSD is the appropriate level of ethical review according to Norwegian law.
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Eggebø, H., Munkejord, M.C. & Schönfelder, W. Land, History and People: Older people’s Stories about Meaningful Activities and Social Relations in Later Life. Population Ageing 13, 465–483 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12062-019-09253-7
- Home care
- Person-centred care
- Social care
- Older people