The Swedish Municipal Food Distribution Service to the Elderly Living at Home as Experienced by the Recipient’s Relatives

  •  Zada Pajalic    


The municipal Food distribution service (FD) to the elderly living at home is a part of the public social and care service in Sweden, The objective of this service is to ensure proper food intake for persons who are unable to do their own shopping, and prepare their own meals. The foremost reasons for the need of the FD service are in situations where there are illness related physical or psychological limitations.This means that the Swedish welfare system takes on the responsibility for its citizens when they have a legal social related need of care. Further, according to the Swedish social legislation, children or other relatives have no legal obligations to take care of their parents or elderly disabled relatives. This also means that the children or relatives of elderly people requiring social support have no legal right to be involved in the evaluation procedure of need assessment or the outcome of any social and care services granted by the Swedish social welfare system.

The aim of the present study was to gain insight into how the relatives of elderly people living at home in Sweden experience the municipal service of ready-made meals distributed daily.

The data was collected using in-depth interviews with relatives of elderly persons who use the municipal food distribution (FD) service (n=8). The transcribed interview material was analysed using the grounded theory method.

The findings of this study revealed that the relatives of the municipal FD service recipients advocate for a food preparation service in the home of the recipient rather than the distribution of ready-made meals from a central kitchen. The results also revealed that the participating relatives felt frustrated by the legal limitations that make it impossible for them to influence the municipal FD service. The findings in this study also indicate that relatives should be considered as a resource in this matter and could actively participate, and have a positive influence on the quality of the municipal FD service for the elderly. The results of the study could have implications for nursing, public administration and gerontology.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.