Older immigrants' experiences of their life situation in the context of receiving public care in Sweden

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Abstract

Objectives

The aim of this study was to illuminate older immigrants' experience of their life situation in the context of receiving public care in Sweden.

Background

To meet the varying needs from the growing number of older immigrants, more knowledge about the experience of their life situation, health, illness and family ties is needed, especially in the context of receiving public health care and service.

Methods

Data were collected through interviews with sixteen immigrants aged 65 years and older, originally from nine different countries, living in Southern Sweden and receiving continuous care and service. The texts were analysed using qualitative content analysis.

Results

The overall impression from the texts was that the informants expressed a debt of gratitude to Swedish society. Their experience could be understood as – being burdened with health complaints; experiencing painful losses; wanting to manage by oneself and feeling exposed and deserted.

Conclusions

The results show that older immigrants are vulnerable when receiving public care. This was related to previous life events, cultural differences as well as communication difficulties. When planning for and providing care for older immigrants, it is important to be aware of their exposed situation and to acknowledge their life history and family context.

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