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Research projects

To work together to develop a meaningful everyday life for older people in aged care. A participant-based research program

About this project

Project information

Project status



Annica Kihlgren

Research subject

This interdisciplinary participatory research project has been going on since 2010 in collaboration between the Municipality in Örebro and the IHM, Örebro University.

The project has its background in the shortcomings that have been reported in elderly care in Sweden and in many other parts of the world. In Sweden, older persons’ ability to influence the content and design of care is described as limited. The Swedish government therefore introduced national guidelines to address the deficiencies and gave each municipality the opportunity to formulate its own guidelines. The guidelines contain core values and local guarantees of dignity for the care of older persons, to assure them dignity and wellbeing, with their daily lives organized in a meaningful way.

The core values are guiding the ways in which the work within elderly care in the municipalities should be carried out. In the local guarantees of dignity, the municipalities provide the residents concrete definitions of what they can expect in terms of municipal elderly care. These guidelines were furthermore intended to supplement the efforts already underway within the municipalities. Based on the work that was carried out in the community we choose to worked together to develop practical knowledge for a meaningful daily life from the older person’s perspective. Furthermore based on this knowledge to formulate core values and local guarantees of dignity. A "bottom up approach" was adopted in which the voice of older people is the starting point, and the project was carried out together with the various stakeholders from the community and the university. The project included older people who had home care, day care or lived in nursing and care homes, their families and healthcare staff, all managers , senior organizations and politicians. Data were collected through repeated interviews with older people and their relatives, a literature review has been done, focus group discussions were conducted with all managers and the researchers followed the staff in their work through participant observation. The project included a training intervention for all the managers in the municipality in order to start the implementation the core values and local guarantees of dignity. During the training, the managers work with the collected data and formulated a preliminary core value and local guarantees.  To ensure that the result not have been decontextualized from the original data the researcher returned to the stakeholders, reference groups were formed consisting of four senior citizen organizations and continuous revisions were made.

Political decisions were imposing the core values and guarantees of dignity late autumn 2012. Implementation took place during 2013 and the project will be evaluated in February, 2014. The project was awarded by the Regional Councils and Örebro Universities Collaboration Scholarship, 2012.

Research funding bodies

  • The Swedish Foundation Olle Engkvist Byggmästare
  • Örebro Municipality


  • Elisabeth Liljekvist, Örebro kommun