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The following program is produced by the University of Michigan broadcasting service under a grant of aid from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. The challenge of aging. Today's program. Some Swedish experiences with aging. A program from the series human behaviors social and medical research produced by the University of Michigan broadcasting service with special assistance from the National Health Council and the National Health Forum. You will hear today Dr. Elie Barrett Green who is chief of the department for care of the aged of the royal board in Sweden and author Holtz of the Forest Park Foundation in Peoria Illinois. And my name is Glenn Phillips. My first question to Dr. beggary was what is the government's role regarding aging in Sweden. He answered that question is an important one but it is some difficulty point and the second business to
understand this. I can say shortly that the governments are only as tools of the development to take initiate Deaves and to make the laws. We have the parliament there concerning the Big Lie is that the guiding principles of the old age care in all its forms and qualities in the hospital care and housing policy and so on. Answer this with you is the life span in Sweden any more perceptively longer than it is elsewhere in the United States. I'm sorry I cannot give you the figures that we know that the lifespan in Sweden the Swedish population. Is it growing now that if our stay in the in the middle of this century and we have heard about the outstanding professor hard to be Jews at Berkeley when made special studies in Sweden that the Swedish
population is one of the most happiest in the world. Because we will be leaving you longer and in better health than had been experienced before. That is without figurines the future picture. If you're going to be living longer and we assume and hope healthier and happier lives. This is going to have many ramifications one of which is housing. Compare. Or if not compare at least. Tell how the housing situation is handled in Sweden. Yes first if I may do that Mr. Phillips I will tell you the fundamental principle for what we are doing in Sweden. It is not so that the Swedish government and the Swedish authorities have to order everything that has to be done within the old aged care. The fundamental principle laid down by the parliament.
If you we as a good is that in the fast and and in the largest possible extension must be observed that we are in the know. With all we have all and methods help the old people to live in independent life as long as possible in their own homes. This principle work is now in full unity about and it is in accordance with this principle that we do what we can to give the passion the years of good economic and security through the good to better and better pensions. And in this connection. Housing problems comes into the picture. We give them treats around richer possibilities to leave the to have a better and more suitable house things. Those housings please believe that
people like you and other people leave in their usual housing districts are us but we have special specially constructed houses so compassionate as whom is for people small. And little expensive and very comfortable homes for that poor people to live in stimulating them to help themselves in every regard. Dr. Baird just something about the design of these flats as you call them are they larger flats large apartments I mean are there number of rooms in them or are they the American conception of a flat maybe a living room a small bedroom the kitchenette. Am I clear when they are to these rooms These flats are to help the people to help themselves to leave Independence as long as they can. Of course the hood these flats must
be as a smore as possible to them. It takes more work to make such a larger a larger flat it is only one room for a name for a single person or two rooms for an a couple with a lift or a kitchen kitchenette and there is very early the bathroom and toilet and such things but it is as small as possible just to help them to make their rooms without too much work. Back to back really. How many of these units are there. We have about I think about something like $50000 and that did not do more than that about 8 percent. For all of those owed houses we have in Sweden now we have about the age of 67. We have now 700000 people that is exactly 10 percent of the population 7 million. When you
say 8 percent 50000 people 50000. Does this also mean that there are man and wife living in the unit Cause technically his own family is man and wife and windows and people living for themselves. How many people are there in Sweden maybe we should establish this before we go much further how many people in Sweden are over the age 65 67. We are over sixty seven and that is the pension age in Sweden. There are seven 700000 today about that and that is just 10 percent of all of your population which is 7 million people a lot of very rapid question is the rent very expensive for these small units. I am sorry I cannot tell you exactly how it is but it is not expensive it is a very little drama a little
rant for it and of the communities we have paid the people cannot pay for. Have not money enough to pay for themselves. By now I think one of the most important questions. Which we must at least ask about with these small independent units and that is this. You said that they are rather small. If the people have come from a larger house in years past. Do they find a difficult time Ed just into the smaller living units. No I think in it is that the opposite is really opposite. People while old Filipe as something tiring to have a big house to take responsibility for it and there feel it as a net and easier to have that those small. Houses to live in.
They can't do everything themselves. They can have their food they can make their rooms and they are not tired. It is something economically and as a tool. House how seeing work whom work that they can muster. Now this we didn't have also a community housing for the elderly. Yes we have. And in that section we have a very radical reform going on since 10 or more years ago. It is the old poor age institutions which are which are taken away vegetarian hour and day instead of them. We had smaller own smaller whom like one beautiful good homes for the
people the old people who are in need of permanent supervision services and help. But not to need on hospital care or medical attendance. Those small homes our community homes but we call them they are I think I can best describe them as a sort of small boarding homes if you use that word in America I don't know. No not the institution like at all but to me as the host has seen them and he knows me and everything about the American Planning in peace respect and to perhaps he can tell him he can't attend his home note or. Meaning about it. Well I was just going to ask you. A question. Would you sort of sum up if you could not the interview but just your impressions of the Swedish handling of the entire problem of the aging. I certainly would be happy to go and we are at the Forest Park Foundation have been
looking for some common sense and answers in this business of housing for older people and it was my pleasure and distinct privilege to have visited this beautiful and wonderful country of Sweden and to have had the opportunity to spend time with a man that. Were visiting here with today Dr. Barron. For here we found a fantastic program and program that was really designed to meet the needs of older people. Well thought out in terms of these needs and if I. Had to guess I would say at least 25 years I've had it ahead of anything else we have seen in the world. You say the world now does. Let's let's use this how does Sweden's experiences and how does the American experience compare with other plans in the world. Certainly my experience in other countries I have visited about six countries and
all has been limited with the exception of Sweden but in Sweden we did see this program of old age homes which Dr. Baird is in charge of. Which impressed us as being far ahead of anything else we had seen. Here you find homes that are integrated into the neighborhoods. Small in size with a maximum of 72 people and where you have captured the feeling of family living within the walls of something we would ordinarily think of as an institution but not here. These are homes and one in which I would be proud to live and I think the supreme test it would be a home in which I would be proud to have my parents live. For inside they have broken these down to do units for 12. The food is prepared in a central kitchen but taken out in hot carts to the small snack kitchen or coffee kitchen from which it served to the 12 people who live in that particular section. And each 12 people
have their own day rooms. Their own living room their own dining room next to this small kitchen as an example of the attention to detail each kitchen has in it and individual locker for each old person. So that if an elderly lady takes a shine to an elderly man and wants to go in in the morning and fix him a cup of coffee she can do it and don't think that doesn't happen. Each of these people have a single room of their own they have their own home and their attention to detail goes so far as to such things as no number on the door for you and I are not a number where the name and the Swedes recognize this and so they have in the door a mail slot with the person's name on it. Hannah Carlson For example I remember one from Cindy Baird I think it was outside Stockholm and that mail is delivered into each individual room in the morning. A small thing but something that's indicative of how they have
paid attention to people. To give them the feeling of worth and individuality and counting for something in their twilight years. A system of Goebbels is build and we have known long institutionalized hallways in these homes in Sweden not at all. But when you stick your nose out of one of those doors you see something to go to a lovely little living room for 12 that I would be happy to have as my own family living room a dining room for 12 in a small kitchen. One other comment that I must make at the risk of being too lengthy. Simple things mean so much to older people. I had a grandmother for example who could cook a meal for 16 people but she couldn't get out of a chair my mother had to help her out of a chair in Sweden. They have gotten a physiatrist the doctors who know bones and muscles and joints and I certainly don't I'm not a doctor together with the furniture manufacturers and designed specially designed furniture as with the
arms raised higher and the seat raise that little bit a little bit shorter and a strategic hump in the back so that when you push up out of the chair as I'm doing now. When your elbows become straight your knees become straight and you get the advantage of the strength and both of your arms and your legs to get out. Those kind of little details are indicative of the attention they have given to these people and their true needs. This is what made such an impact on us. And this is why we think Sweden is so far ahead of anyone else. I hope when they designed the chairs in Sweden they leave the squeaks. I hope so too and I'm sure they do. I suppose maybe I better explain that for the audience chairs which we are sitting in. Some kind of week in the spring. Have a day. So that has nothing to do the old age I guess. Like to beg and there are certainly other things to do with. The problem of old age besides the housing one of which is medical care.
How is this probably handled in Sweden. Yes yes. And must be in many different forms and qualities that are owed to age in the care of services which are open to everyone. After we see these needs and so on. One of the most important services are the services in case of disease and there we are now and had in July hospitals nor on the 1st of this year where it is there it can be of interest to you that we in there that do not. Have it taken away. The word chronic and it is especially it is a history back that I heard in I think it was in 1954 doctor born to Philadelphia in the
discussion in Sweden and a he. On all times posts about long time illness and I asked him if it was there if it was the exit intention to appoint the world a comically healing comical and he said yes it is I don't I don't like the word comics today. And now. We have between the new law where we're taking away the word comic of I cannot tell father about the danger of using words in the case of old age care which on. The suggesting of people to think force upon their situation chronic means does not means that does mean often means incurable but that is not true in the United States in this century. Now you own people by sagittal here and the
medical help in a way that is admirable and we do our best also which we need to do that we live in quite a new atmosphere. Medical care for old people. We didn't say 20 years ago. The hospital care is now built up in Sweden very extensive and intensively. We have new buildings for the hospitals in New York many new beds and we believe also a special examination Center us centers which are corpsman geriatrics centers with special doctors where a special ability to understand doing and examine the organise abilities and faculties and capacities of older people in that way. We do what we can to find out what is wrong. We are old people and help them to live in the
normal aging natural way. As long as possible cause at last we have our. Last illness which we end our lives. But those illnesses are nowadays so severe that they arise. We are in need people are in need of the best experts to get the help. And that is why we make as far as we can the difference between the social care of old people there where we take no responsibility for our medical examination and medical treatment. On one side and on the other side the hospital and medical care where the doctors and nurses and medical experts take the responsibility for the care and examination and help to all people. I mean that this this differentiation is one of the best reforms. The best principles for the future.
Development of. Care over people in our country. That was there are also other things we as I. Do to remember if I have told you. But here we are now discussing and in a special committee. What can be done to give the older people continued occupation work stimulation doing Ricky ation and so one. This is a question of the health not a question of the economical question and in peace. Decayed weren especially in this country. You would have to look forward to a more intensified production. So where atomic energy and meditation out the mother station there will be less work. You will produce much
more. With less people than earlier and then we have when similar tain Asli the old population will increase so much as Tron. Today 15 million old people older people too. About 20 millions in 1970. You have one of the greatest problems in the Old Age pro-U.S. that I think the world to ever have met. Dr. Barron We have not established nation I should have at an earlier time I believe. Is there a compulsory retirement age in Sweden. It is. Complaints in the way that we have a custom and that custom is so fast to develop that people goof around their work about 67 not 65 as they used to be 10 years ago. Now they stay in work till 67. But now we are trying
to look to find new ways in their collaboration with labor unions that we will we will leave it open to everyone one to work for. To work up to so long as you want. We have we have the second day work or with half day work and we have tasks that he can manage. This certainly is recognized so I'm not assuming that I have any special knowledge but that people need something which they can be productive in Sweden are their work is their work available for them other jobs available if they wish to continue working. I think today it is but also in Sweden and those of production are developed like they are in this country. You go first ahead I think in the Western world
at least and I think that after today we can have many tasks or people to people about. There is no logic though. People have something play can learn to create against to take people in the work. But that is what we now try to fight against. We will make people more demanding for so that they can have something to do or at least we will try to give them some recreation or. Occupation. For instance I can tell you when the end really old age whom we have first we have special rooms so-called hobby rooms where people can do one. We were women with waving and men with comping and other such things. We mean
we think that this is one of the new and very important activities for the aging population. I don't want to cut you short in any way at all because. There are hundreds and hundreds of questions that could be asked but I want to ask you this do you feel this is a question the entire problem of deontology the Old age is this a problem which must be confronted with world action or is it one that can be solved and done adequately in the local and national levels. I can answer the question in the way we have since 1950 international general logical society and I'm glad to remember that the first of our foundation gives the chronometer help to that society to give out that important review that is read all over the world.
But I think that research work is. This soo important that we must take care of it on what is done in there. Research sector in this field especially in the sector of the special aging problems of aging physiological aging where we have done the least. After my meaning and in that way I think that you with your time brains and your economical resources in this country can do and have done. There's so much that can be taken over by other peoples. And if you permit me to say that also by yourself in the different states more then today. And in that way we have is Weeden lead to many fine things thoughts.
That you have done and we have drawn the practical conclusion of it in our tactical aging policy effect I think. May I challenge it may I add that don't you. But I think that to protect a good work must be built up in every national or in every nation by themselves for instance you work in the way. Is you a Jew that is consistence to your history. The population here your culture we protect is the research results in our country after all. Our. History our administration and culture and that the practical ways in which we work and in which we find the solutions can be it is something different. But the most important thing is that we look upon the old people. As
human beings like the younger people. Well if I may be permitted just a word of editorial or something you appear to hit upon something that many firmly believe and I am one of them that there has to be more. Intergroup action between people before many of these problems are solved. Is that not true. Yes I think so and I have. We have in Sweden in the oil social board worked in these to these methods. And very thankful to them for the privilege to have the speech with them Mr. Phillips and I ask you all to listen us to have the children of American. Patients with. Sandra for a chance to speak or leave them home. Conditions in his own country. Well I thank you very much. I think you've done a very fine job away. Our thanks to Dr. Allie Baghran who is chief of the department for care of the
aged in Sweden and two other holes of the Forest Park Foundation of Peoria Illinois. As they have discussed some Swedish experiences with aging. Next week you will hear Dr. Irving Lors who is professor of education at the Teachers College of Columbia University in New York City as he discusses a psychologist looks at aging on the next program from the series human behavior social and medical research. We extend our special thanks to the National Health Council and the National Health Forum for their assistance. Glenn Phillips speaking asking that you join us next week and thanking you for being with us at this time. This program has been produced by the University of Michigan broadcasting service under a grant in aid from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the NOAA B Radio
The challenge of aging
Some Swedish experiences with aging
Producing Organization
University of Michigan
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program features an interview with Ali M. Berggren, Ph.D., Royal Board of Social Welfare, Stockholm, Sweden.
Series Description
Part of a WUOM series on human behavior, this series seeks to explore the challenges facing the aged.
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Social Issues
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Host: Hentoff, Nat
Interviewee: Berggren, Ali
Interviewee: Holtz, Arthur
Producer: Phillips, Glen
Producing Organization: University of Michigan
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 61-28-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:29
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Chicago: “The challenge of aging; Some Swedish experiences with aging,” 1961-04-17, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 25, 2024,
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APA: The challenge of aging; Some Swedish experiences with aging. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from