Research on Elderly and Disability in Social Sciences (REIS)

The REIS research environment performs multidisciplinary research on older people and persons with disabilities. We have a holistic view and a special focus on the interaction between old persons and persons with disabilities and the societal environment represented by the welfare state.

Read about REIS' research in Swedish instead.

Research on Elderly and Disability in Social Sciences, REIS, is a research environment performing multidisciplinary research on older people and persons with disability. The view is holistic, with a special focus on the interaction between the old person and the person with disability and the societal environment represented by the welfare state. A social scientific based approach is applied on everyday life and wellbeing focused on social, physical and cultural dimensions. A multidisciplinary theoretical framework is used due to various perspectives, different structural levels of interest and many disciplines: social work, psychology, pedagogy, social psychology, gerontology, and theories on organizations, economics and social policy.

The idea is to produce research findings of high societal relevance resulting in concrete implementation to improve everyday life for older people and persons with disability and for preventive targeting from various aspects. The special direction is close societal cooperation with municipalities, counties, R & D organizations and interest groups focused on the person's meeting and interaction with the welfare state. Areas that not are covered by the researchers in the group based at the Department of Social Work at Linnaeus University are met through collaboration with other research groups at universities in Sweden and abroad.

The older person in the centre of a holistic perspective

If we take the so called person-centered care content seriously, in terms of both health care and social care, in other words applying an holistic approach to people's lives and needs, and then try to realize them in a proper manner, an interprofessional research and care work must be developed. But to achieve this goal it is necessary to broaden the perspectives to include the whole spectrum of peoples' everyday lives from social, cultural and economic aspects, rights and obligations, participation in family life, studies and working life, outdoor mobility options and transport opportunities, health issues to mention some of them. And it is here the interdisciplinary research focused in REIS becomes central.

During more than 20 years, researchers have observed major health care and social care problems with older people within the home care sector as well as in institutional based living. Research reports also show examples of inequality in care and life conditions when it comes to gender, social classes and economy (Anxo & Boulin, 2006). Shortcomings in cooperation between the welfare state actors, lack of influence from older people (Wikström & Melin Emilsson, 2013) and big differences for the elderly and persons with disability depending on where they live are also reported (Trydegård & Thorslund, 2010).

During the past twenty years participation in society has improved for persons with disability through the development of society-based support. However, today the trend is reverting towards a decrease in rights to society-based support and an increase in persons living in institutions (Tøssebro et al., 2012). The list is longer but on the whole one can say that there is a lack of holistic approach in social policy to the situation for these groups of people in its entirety and the holistic attitude is also one major hallmark of the research in the framework of this research environment.


Jan Petersson, senior professor (affiliated)

Staffan Blomberg, associate professor (affiliated)

REIS in January 2019

Participating researchers' publications during the last five years