Well-Being and Welfare Policies for Elderly in an International Perspective

At Borgen (Christiansborg, The Parliament) giving a talk “Well-Being and Welfare Policies for Elderly in an International Perspective” at the annual conference Elderly Days 2014. In brief, the Danish elderly are by European standards self-reporting high levels of satisfaction with life, social ties, trust in other, being able to live a comfortably life, but despite increases of longevity Danes, especially women, do not live as long as their sisters in neighboring countries. The Danish pension system by a large meet the EU pension strategy of being modern, providing adequate benefits and being sustainable. However, as also reported by one of the delegates, this does not rule out poverty among certain groups of elderly that may prevent them from taking fully part in life and even barring them from getting a place in an elderly nursing home. The move from compensation towards prevention and rehabilitation has been a new trend in social care for the elderly and is likely to continue. This qualitative shift in elderly care may be a win-win-situation, i.e. more autonomy for the elderly persons and less public expenditure on social care. However, the qualitative re-orientation cannot fully explain the reduction of budgets and staff and hours of services in home care. Danish welfare policies for the elderly are not only being recast but also being trimmed.