Care of Older Adults in Iceland: Policy Objectives and Reality

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ABSTRACT: We examine the implementation of the Icelandic government's policy on formal care of older adults in Iceland. The policy as expressed in legislation and other policy documents is to ensure access of older adults to the appropriate level of health and social care services. How does the actual level of formal care compare with the policy objectives? Does there exist an implementation deficit, and if so, why? We address the question by analyzing Icelandic and international statistical databases. The findings reveal a gap between the aims of the current policy and its delivery. As elsewhere in the Nordic region, the policy allows for the emphasis to be on home-care services in which the individual's needs are assessed comprehensively. Administrative problems and insufficient resources to better understand and explain the problem are identified. Current steps to address the problem include the necessity of a comprehensive evaluation of the level and quality of elder-care services in Iceland, which would help compensate for the shortcomings of the existing public statistical databases. In future research, it is necessary to analyze how services can be coordinated while increasing responsiveness to the voices of older adults and their relatives on the care of older people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-245
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Social Service Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Other keywords

  • Health and social service
  • older adult care
  • policy implementation
  • public policy


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