Department of Sociology

Elderly Care in a Globalized World

A study of cross-cultural interaction in the context of Swedish elderly care

Primary Investigator: Professor Sandra Torres

Collaborators: Professor Azita Emami, Dept. of Nursing, Karolinska Institute & Seattle University

This study departs from the effects that globalization has on the context of Swedish elderly care by focusing on the challenges and possibilities that cross-cultural interaction poses in this particular setting. Designed as an ethnographic study, this project aims to shed light on how elderly care providers and recipients perceive and relate to those that are ethnically/ culturally different from them and how the perceptions and behaviors in question facilitate and/or inhibit the deliverance of high quality and user friendly elderly care. The empirical data –which is comprised of over 330 hrs of participant observation in two nursing homes over a period of twelve weeks as well as a total of 37 semi-structured interviews – shows that understandings of ethnic ‘Otherness’ differ depending on the elderly care actor they involve (i.e. whether they are about elderly care providers, recipients or their informal caregivers).

Grants: The phase of data collection was financed through a small grant accorded to the primary investigator by Mälardalen University (funded by ESF-rådet – Europeiska Socialfondens Program Växtkraft Mål 3) while the transcription of the data was financed by FAS-financed Programme Grant (2007-2012) ‘Forms of care in later life: place, time and life course’ which is led by Prof. Eva Jeppsson-Grassman (Linköping University). The actual analysis of the data and the writing of publications have been financed through the grant that the primary investigator recently received through the FLARE-program [Future Leader of Aging Research in Europe]. This program which is run by ERA-AGE NET is funded – in Sweden – by the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research (FAS) (2008-2011).