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In Sweden, the 1990s was a turbulent decade for welfare services on the whole, and for services and care for elderly people in particular. The aim of the article was to describe these changes and try to identify some general trends and tendencies in the development. Another object was to discuss the possible consequences for the elderly and for their next of kin as well as for the staff in old-age care, and also to point to some knowledge gaps. Old age-care has undergone substantial reorganisation and reconstruction. The access to home-help services have been dramatically reduced and the institutional care has not kept pace with the growing elderly population. The resources have been concentrated on fewer and more care-demanding groups who receive personal care and home nursing care often all around the clock. Elderly with minor needs have been excluded, while others exit the services which they find too expensive or of poor quality. Another distinct tendency is different forms of privatisation: management of municipal activities have become market-influenced; the former public provision of services have to a great extent been handed over to private companies; costs and responsibility of care have more and more become a private business; and informal care has increased in various forms. Despite the substantial changes of the old-age care, very little is known about the consequences for the elderly, their next of kin and the staff – a challenge for social policy research.

Gun-Britt Trydegård [*]
  • [*]
    PhD, Department of Social work, Stockholm University, Sweden.
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