Ideals of Old Age - Constructing Ageing and Care in Local Strategy Documents

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 09:00
Oral Presentation
Tiina SIHTO, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Care is currently one of the central issues of social policy. Due to ageing of population the need for care is rising, whilst it is expected that formal care services will in the future be available only for those who are the oldest and the frailest. Both care research and care policy are facing the question of what should be done to the widening care gap, and where lies the responsibility for patching up the gap.

In Finland the practical level of care policy takes place primarily at the local level. Currently municipalities have the responsibility for care provision. Consequently, it is essential to do analysis of care policy not only at the national, but also at the local level, and reflect on how the changes taking place at the local level are similar and different to those taking place at the national level.

The focus of my analysis is on how ageing and care are constructed in Finnish local level strategy documents. My data consists of documents that have been published between the years 2008 and 2016. Through the viewpoint of discourse analysis, the aim is to is to explore what kind of reality of ageing and care is constructed in these local strategy documents, and how this reality constructed in the local strategy documents plays part in the shaping of local care policy.

The preliminary analysis shows how in local strategies, the provider and organiser of care is first and foremost the ageing individual who, via self-care, leads active, independent and autonomous life. If the ageing person has any care needs, the needed care is provided by family, next of kin and community. The role of public sector and welfare state is constructed as diminishing and secondary in the local strategies.