Symposium 9: Crisis of the Later Life Care: Cases from Nordic Welfare States

Convenor: Alexandra Jønsson, Roskilde University

Despite being internationally known as affluent welfare states with well-functioning health and social services, Nordic countries face a crisis of care. This care-crisis is due to a rising number of elderly citizens in need of care and failure in recruitment in contexts marked by decades of austerity politics. This session explores the various strategies, practices and dilemmas related to the care-crisis. Taking onset in cases from Nordic Welfare States, the panel aims for a broader discussion applicable to various national and cultural settings. Nordic Welfare States, however, serve as a great example, because here governments have launched several strategies intended to re-organize and improve later-life care, focusing on issues such as better conditions for care workers, de-bureaucratization, digitalization of care, and sustainability. The panel investigate empirically the ‘problematizations’ of current conceptions of aging, care, care work and the organization of care embedded in the new policies and strategies, to discuss how the intention to solve the current crisis may constitute new problems and dilemmas: 

(1)“Care Crises: Problems & solutions” uses the case of an intervention to better health and care among and for migrants to discuss the problematization of migratory aging, and the failure to adapt local health intervention solutions to aging migrants. 

(2)“Attractive workplaces – a strategy to curb the recruitment crises” analyses attempts to introduce new care ideals, and reorganize care work that opposes principles of NPM in order to overcome the crisis of recruiting and retaining care workers. 

(3)“Datafication for care in later life?” identify the forms of care that are made to matter in processes of digitalization and data generation and the forms of care that escapes datafication and discuss how such practices relates to dominant notions to what is considered as ‘accountable care’. 

(4) “Sustainability for care in later life?” attends to medicalization and overuse in a sustainability perspective to discuss the drain of scarce care resources and the allocation of professional care for older people in the years to come. 


Care Crises: Problems & solutions: Associate Professor Anne Leonora Blåkilde & Professor Karen Christensen

Attractive workplaces – a strategy to curb the recruitment crises: PhD candidate Maria Hjortsø Pedersen, Associate Professor Agnete Meldsgaard Hansen & Prof. Annette Kamp

Datafication for care in later life?: PhD candidate Mie Winther Christensen & Professor, Nete Schwennesen

Sustainability of later life care: Associate Professor, Alexandra Brandt Ryborg Jønsson 

Discussant: TBA