Fattighusliv i ensamhetsslott : Ivar Lo-Johansson och de äldre i samhällsdebatt och dikt
Sammanfattning: In 1949, a Swedish author, Ivar Lo-Johansson (1901–1990), started an action that had the aim of improving conditions for old people in Sweden This action lasted from 1949 until 1957. It started when the author and a photographer made a journey around the country to enable Lo-Johansson to form a conception of the conditions under which old people lived in old people’s homes.The journey was documented in words and pictures ands gave rise to a series of articles in a magazine, Vi, in the spring of 1949. The articles were followed in the same year by the publication of a book of photographs, Ålderdom (Old Age), and of four talks which Lo-Johansson broadcast on the radio during the autumn. In 1952 the author published a polemical pamphlet, Ålderdoms-Sverige (Old Age in Sweden), which contained fierce attacks on the social authorities for the lack of proper care that Lo-Johansson considered that the old people were subjected to. In the book the author proposed a number of measures to improve the situation of the elderly. Among other things he emphasised the importance of giving the elderly a meaningful existence and treating them in such a way that their mental health was not threatened. Lo-Johansson’s principal goal was that institutions to care for healthy old people should not be needed in the future – his slogan was that care at home should replace care in homes.This dissertation describes how Lo-Johansson’s campaign for better care for the elderly was implemented, the reactions that followed, and the ways in which his proposals for improvements in care for the elderly were put into practice. Another task in this study has been to attempt to define some of the care structures that governed attitudes towards the elderly at the end of the 1940s and to see the extent to which they were changed in the 1950s as a consequence of Lo-Johansson’s action.The conclusions of the dissertation are, in brief, that the author’s action resulted in a new focus in the social policy and a change in the structure of values in which concepts such as human dignity, integrity, humanity and the satisfaction of mental needs have obtained a footing in both the social policy debate and in the practical exercise of new forms of care for the elderly at that time.
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