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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Spotting good ageing: using welfare theory of health to frame the agency of older adults with immigrant backgrounds to attain good ageing

Johansson, Carl; Morell, Ildiko Asztalos; Lindberg, Daniel; Gustafsson, Lena-Karin


Care providers for older immigrants in Sweden find themselves in a paradox. Individuals and associations call for culturally sensitive elderly care. However, implementing this comes at the risk of over-culturizing needs and behaviours, drawing a negative picture of 'the problem of immigrants' that needs to be solved with special interventions. To find a balance in this paradox, we applied the welfare theory of health to grasp a new understanding of the phenomena and draw a holistic picture of a person's needs and resources available to achieve good ageing, reaching beyond the cultural paradox. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with older adults with immigrant backgrounds in Sweden. The interviews were analysed using content analysis. Combining welfare theory of health with immaterial capital theories offered a holistic theoretical approach to good ageing. This took its departure from the agency of older adults, mitigating the gap between their vital life goals and available resources to reach these goals. Although informants wanted caring interventions from close family, we identified distinct responses to mitigate the diminished trust older adults had in the capability of welfare institutions to provide adequate elderly care.


Older adults; good ageing; resources; holism; health

Published in

Nordic Social Work Research
2023, Volume: 13, number: 1, pages: 21-35

    Associated SLU-program

    SLU Future One Health

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG3 Good health and well-being
    SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities
    SDG16 Peace, justice and strong institutions

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology

    Publication identifier


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