A1 Journal article (refereed)
Revisiting the Nordic long-term care model for older people - still equal? (2022)

Rostgaard, T., Jacobsen, F., Kröger, T., & Peterson, E. (2022). Revisiting the Nordic long-term care model for older people - still equal? . European Journal of Ageing, 19(2), 201-210. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10433-022-00703-4

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Rostgaard, Tine; Jacobsen, Frode; Kröger, Teppo; Peterson, Elin

Journal or series: European Journal of Ageing

ISSN: 1613-9372

eISSN: 1613-9380

Publication year: 2022

Publication date: 03/05/2022

Volume: 19

Issue number: 2

Pages range: 201-210

Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication country: Germany

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10433-022-00703-4

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/80879

Additional information: Correction to this article, please see: European Journal of Ageing (2022) 19:201–210 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10433-022-00703-4. In the original publication of the article, the title is corrected from “Revisiting the Nordic long-term care model for older people—still equal? Special issue EJA, edited by Fritzell, Jylhä and Rostgaard” to “Revisiting the Nordic long-term care model for older people—still equal?”.


With the extensive long-term care services for older people, the Nordic countries have been labelled ‘caring states’ as reported (Leira, Welfare state and working mothers: the Scandinavian experience, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1992). The emphasis on services and not cash benefits ensures the Nordics a central place in the public service model (Anttonen and Sipilä, J Eur Soc Policy 6:87–100, 1996). The main feature of this ideal model is public social care services, such as home care and residential care services, which can cover the need for personal and medical care, as well as assistance with household chores. These services are provided within a formally and professionally based long-term care system, where the main responsibility for the organization, provision and financing of care traditionally lays with the public sector. According to the principle of universalism (in: Antonnen et al. (eds), Welfare state, universalism and diversity, Elgar, Cheltenham, 2013), access to benefits such as home care and residential care is based on citizenship and need, not contributions nor merit. Also, care services should be made available for all and generally be used by all, with no stigma associated. Vabø and Szebehely (in: Anttonen (ed), Welfare State, universalism and diversity, Edward Elgar Publishing, London, 2012)) further argue that the Nordic service universalism is more than merely issues of eligibility and accessibility, in that it also encompasses whether services are attractive, affordable and flexible in order to meet a diversity of needs and preferences. However, recent decades have seen a continuous tendency towards prioritization of care for the most frail, contributing to unmet need, informalization of care and privatization in the use of topping up with market-based services. These changes have raised questions about increasing inequalities within Nordic long-term care systems. We investigate in the article what effect changes have for equality across social class and gender, for users and informal carers. The article is based on analysis of comparable national and international statistics and a review of national research literature and policy documents.

Keywords: older people; care for older people; care services; social services; long-term care; public services; home care; caring for close relatives; privatisation (economics); welfare state; inequality; equality (values); socioeconomic status

Free keywords: long-term care; Nordic countries; retrenchment; privatisation; informalisation

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

Preliminary JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 15:26