General studies

Teaching language


Type of course


Cycle/level of course


Recommended year of study


Total number of ECTS

5 cr

Competency aims

At the end of the course the student should:
- have knowledge of old people’s living conditions and every-day life
- have knowledge of attitudes to aging and elderly
- have knowledge of the aging society and
fundamental demographic changes
- have knowledge of aging in a life course and
life history perspective
- be able to apply different social gerontological theories and concepts in order to understand old people’s life situations
- be able to challenge ageism

Learning outcomes

This IP would like to open new perspectives on what role and image older people have in our Western societies. Especially in the area of an ageing society in Europe, the way older people are approached by caregivers like social workers and nurses is fundamental. The older people are often confronted with a negative approach in both health and social services. This approach is not open and evident but hidden in the values that shape our legislation and how it is implemented, the practices and traditions of service delivery, and the possibilities of participation in the community and maintaining personal dignity. These possibilities are intertwined with the planning of infrastructure, housing and transport. More often than not some obstacles for participation in the social life could have been prevented, had the older people themselves had a voice in the planning process.
The role and image of ageing and the ways of implementing the services are vary depending on the cultural contexts and that is why an intercultural study module is fruitful for all participants.

Course contents

- Basic social theories of aging
- Knowledge and myths about aging

- Life history perspective
- The life course perspective
- Longevity and life styles

Prerequisites and co-requisites


Additional information

Note! Compulsory attendance in all parts of the IP program, including lectures, groups, challenges and presentations

Recommended or required reading

Course literature

Atchley, R.C. 2004. Social forces and aging: An
introduction to social gerontology. (Social
Aspects of Individual Ageing) Belmont: Wadsworth.

Daatland, S.O& Biggs, S.(Eds) (2007) Ageing and
Diversity: Multiple pathways and cultural
migrations. Bristol. The Policy Press.
Current scientific research articles. Action research.

Further literature:
Biggs, S. (1996) Understanding ageing. Images,
attitudes and professional practice. Buckingham:
Open University Press
Birren, J.E. et al. (Eds) (1996) Aging and
biography. Exploration in adult development. New
York: Springer
Binstock, R.H. (2006) Handbook of ageing and the
social sciences. Academic Press
Jegermalm, M. (2005) Carers in the welfare state –
On informal care and support for carers in Sweden.
Academic dissertation. Stockholm University, Dept
of Social Work
Kröger, T. (2005) Interplay between formal and
informal care for older people: The state of the
Nordic research. I M. Szebehely (Red)
Äldreomsorgsforskning i Norden. En
kunskapsöversikt (s. S. 243-280). Nordiska
Ministerrådet, Tema Nord 2005:508
Linderborg, Hilkka. Pro Gradu. 2007. www.
Öberg, P & Tornstam, L (1999) Body images among
men and women of different ages. Ageing & Society
19: 629-644
Öberg, P. & Tornstam, L., (2001) Youthfulness and
Fitness - Identity Ideals for All Ages? Journal of
Aging and Identity 6(1):15-29
Öberg, P. & Tornstam, L., (2003) Attitudes towards
embodied old age among Swedes. International
Journal of Aging & Human Development 56(2): 133-
Öberg, P. (2003) Images versus experiences of the
ageing body. In C. Faircloth (Ed.) Aging Bodies:
Meanings and Perspectives (pp. 103-139). Walnut
Creek, Clifornia: Alta Mira Press
Articles presented during the course

Study activities

  • Lectures - 23 hours
  • Excursions and demonstrations - 20 hours
  • Individual- and group instruction - 5 hours
  • Practical exercises - 5 hours
  • Project- and production work/artistic activities - 10 hours
  • Individual studies - 70 hours


  • Total workload of the course: 133 hours
  • Of which autonomous studies: 133 hours
  • Of which scheduled studies: 0 hours

Mode of Delivery

Participation in tuition

Assessment methods

  • Demonstrations and proficiency exams
  • Essays, reports, productions and portfolio

Assessment requirements

This is an IP course and assignment that will be further described before course starts


  • Gustafs Christel
  • Nordlund-Spiby Rut
  • Sigfrids Ingmar
  • Sundell Solveig


Gustafs Christel

Group size

No limit

Assignments valid until

12 months after course has ended

Assessment methods

  • Date will be announced later - Demonstrations and presentations
  • Date will be announced later - Reports and productions
  • Date will be announced later - Other assignments

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