Exploring resident health, wellbeing, and thriving in Swedish sheltered housing
Abstract: Background: As the population of older people is expected to increase in the coming decades, an increase in service demand will likely follow. Aging in place is common in Sweden, but may be associated with loneliness, anxiety, and other negative health effects. Swedish sheltered housing began to emerge around 2008, and was aimed at older people who felt socially isolated, anxious, or unsafe aging in place. Swedish sheltered housing was to be a form of independent housing, providing accommodation with increased opportunities for social participation and accessible spaces, but with no provision of health care services. Despite the emergence of such housing, and policy documents outlining anticipated benefits, the national and international scientific body of knowledge is small.Aim: The overall aim of this thesis was to explore the health, wellbeing and thriving of residents living in Swedish sheltered housing.Methods: This thesis is based on data from two data collections and registry data. The first data collection, the U-Age Sheltered Housing Survey Study, took place between October 2016 and January 2017, and consisted of surveys sent to residents living in Swedish sheltered housing, and to a matched control group. The matching criteria was age, sex and municipality of residence. The sample for the U-Age Sheltered Housing Survey Study consisted of 3,805 individuals: 1, 955 individuals living in sheltered housing, and 1,850 aging in place. The second data collection took place between April 2019 and January 2020, and consisted of semi-structured interviews in five sheltered housing accommodations which had participated in the U-age Sheltered Housing Survey Study. This data collection consisted of a total of seven group interviews with a sample of 38 residents. In addition, to enable longitudinal analyses, registry data on social services resource utilization and mortality was obtained from The Department of Health and Welfare in Sweden and Statistics Sweden. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, linear regression analyses with interaction variables, logistic regressions, and qualitative content analysis.Results: Residents living in Swedish sheltered housing generally reported lower self-rated health, lower health-related quality of life, lower functional status, and higher depressive mood, compared to those aging in place. With increasing level of depressive mood, and decreasing levels of self-rated health and functional status, those residing in sheltered housing generally reported higher levels of thriving, compared to those aging in place. A higher proportion of those living in Swedish sheltered housing received home care services, and received on average more home care service hours, compared to those aging in place. Furthermore, a higher proportion of residents living in sheltered housing had relocated to a nursing home and deceased over a 3-year period, compared to those aging in place. Rates of relocation to a nursing home and mortality were higher among those who lived in Swedish sheltered housing and received home care services, compared to those living in Swedish sheltered housing who did not receive home care services. Interviews with residents living in Swedish sheltered housing revealed four different levels to the experienced facilitators and barriers to thriving in Swedish sheltered housing: individual factors, social context, environmental factors and organizational context.Conclusions: There seems to be both a want, and a potential need, for health care related support among residents living in Swedish sheltered housing. Although residents in Swedish sheltered housing reported slightly lower self-rated wellbeing than older people aging in place, differences in wellbeing did not seem to be explained by type of accommodation per se. There do however seem to be aspects in Swedish sheltered housing that support thriving specifically among those with lower levels of health, lower functional status, and higher depressive mood, when compared to those aging in place. It seems possible that thriving in Swedish sheltered housing may be influenced by the interplay of various especially influential aspects, such as, but not limited to, levels of health, the services provided, the experience of the social environment, and the perceived support. Thereby, providing residents of Swedish sheltered housing with more health care related support and information could further support resident health and thriving. The findings of this thesis contribute to the currently limited pool of knowledge on health, wellbeing, and thriving in Swedish sheltered housing, and may assist in developing tailored services, support, and interventions for the demographic residing in this type of housing.
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