Ten years later, I worked odd jobs in San Francisco: nighttime at a café, daytime for a nonprofit organisation called Meals on Wheels that provided meals for elderly people who had a hard time shopping for food and cooking at home. By this time, I was more familiar with the stress on ‘family values’ that was so important in the US and indeed in most parts of the world. So, I was puzzled to see how many of the elderly we served apparently suffered from the absence of both state support and familial care. The gap between the rhetoric of family values and the reality of poverty and solitude was clearly wide. Again, the difference between Sweden and most countries came to mind. As I later began to research the matter, I discovered that the laws in Sweden had been changed in the 1970s to transfer the legal and financial responsibility for the elderly from the grown children to the state.

In Sweden, resources and measures are, as we have discussed above, targeted at the individual citizen, without going via the family or nonprofit organisations. In this way, the state protects the individual from any risk of ending up in a relationship of dependency upon parents, spouses or charitable organisations. It also leads to the emancipated citizen becoming more mobile in the labour market, more easily governed through political measures, and more inclined to turn to the market to meet needs that would previously have been satisfied within the family. Social insurance, child benefit allowances, student grants and other forms of state redistribution take the form of unquestioned social rights, which accrue to individual citizens.

Read more on Aeon.

Written by External Article
Everyone is talking about caregiving, but it can still be difficult to find meaningful information and real stories that go deep. We read (and listen to and watch and look at) the best content about caregiving and bring you a curated selection. Have a great story about caregiving? Use our contact form to submit it to us so we can share it with the community!

Related Articles

Why am I procrastinating?

Why am I procrastinating?

It's not because you're lazy. It's not because you're flawed. It's not because you're unable to do it. You're procrastinating because the task is...

Popular categories

After Caregiving
Finding Meaning
Finding Support

Don't see what you're looking for? Search the library

Share your thoughts


Share your thoughts and experiences

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Join our communities

Whenever you want to talk, there’s always someone up in one of our Facebook communities.

These private Facebook groups are a space for support and encouragement — or getting it off your chest.

Join our newsletter

Thoughts on care work from Cori, our director, that hit your inbox each Monday morning (more-or-less).

There are no grand solutions, but there are countless little ways to make our lives better.

Share your insights

Caregivers have wisdom and experience to share. Researchers, product developers, and members of the media are eager to understand the nature of care work and make a difference.

We have a group specifically to connect you so we can bring about change.