For Participants

SWEOLD 2020 sees the sixth time this study is run with new data collected, the interviews will be held with the help of the interview company IPSOS in Härnösand. On this page you, your family and carers can read about the Swedish Panel Study of the Living Conditions of the Oldest Old – SWEOLD. Read about the purpose of the study, how the results will be used, and why you specifically have been chosen to participate.

Photographers: Ian Gadelius, Linn Fryk, Sara Eng

What is SWEOLD?

SWEOLD is an ongoing, nationally representative survey of the older population of Sweden. It is used to study the living conditions of older adults in Sweden and shine a light on issues facing this demographic. The interview concerns areas of life such as health, activities, social life, economy and healthcare. A couple of easy tests on strength, flexibility and memory functions are also included.

Why is the study repeated?

People’s living conditions change over time, as does the characteristics of the older adult population, which this study is about. It is important that our data accurately reflects the world of today, that is why we need to collect data regularly. SWEOLD follows the same people between the collection years which allows for analysis of how the past has affected the present for these individuals, it is also topped up with an additional sample each time to ensure that the population is accurately represented.
Are earlier living conditions related to current health, social relations and/or physical and cognitive abilities for older people today? Questions like these can be answered through repeated study of the same people.

Why you should participate?

It is easy to think that we know what it is like to age, but without interviewing people we cannot get an accurate representation of what people’s living conditions and health are like and how these change over time. People over the age of 70 make up a large part of society and over the last decades this group has grown in the Swedish population, and it will keep doing so in the near future. 
The information gathered in this study provides a factual basis for our understanding of society and how it has changed – the more participants we get the better and more representative knowledge we gain! The results from this study are used as a foundation for discussions about the direction in which society is headed, and to put pressure on politicians and other influential people. The results from studies using SWEOLD data are reported in mass media, used by pensioner’s organisations and influence state level decisions. 
By taking part in the 2020 study you will be part of writing history. The picture of the Swedish population which will be formed through this data collection will be invaluable for decision-making and for future generations. Your participation in this study is invaluable!

Sample Selection

To accurately portray the living conditions of the older population in Sweden without contacting every individual over a certain age, a sample has been chosen to represent the population.  This sample is like Sweden in miniature format, each individual in the study represents around 550 people in Sweden. Everyone who has been asked to participate in the study has been chosen based on certain criteria – and this is why YOU are so important to us and cannot be replaced. Whether you are healthy or not, active or sedentary, live alone or with others, or live in the city or on the countryside – your participation matters.

How does the interview work?

The interviews are done through home visits and these are performed by experienced interviewers at the survey-company IPSOS in Härnösand. These interviewers follow important ethical guidelines and employ strict confidentiality. These interviewers can give you more information about the study.
The questions you will be asked have to do with areas of your life like health, activities, your social life, economy and what your everyday life looks like. The interview also includes a few basic tests concerning strength, mobility and memory. You are of course free to ask to be exempt from any question you might not want to answer.

Why were you selected to participate?

There are two reasons you have been selected – you have either participated in a study before (Levnadsnivåundersökningen or SWEOLD), or you are part of our supplementary sample which we have taken for the study to continue to be representative of the older Swedish population. Whichever reason it is that you were chosen, it means a lot to us that you participate. Your answers to the survey questions will form important puzzle pieces in the picture of older people’s living conditions in Sweden. Without your participation it will be harder for us to get a complete picture of what life is like when you age, how older adults live today, and what the future for an aging population might look like. 

If you cannot participate

It is important that all voices in society are heard. If someone who we want to interview has severe auditory impairments, dementia or might be unable to participate in the interview for other reasons, we will organise with that individual, a relative or a carer to complete an indirect interview, meaning that we will interview someone close to this individual who can answer the interview questions in their place.

What are the results used for?

The Swedish Panel Study of Living Conditions of the Oldest Old  – SWEOLD has been carried out in 1992, 2002, 2004, 2010/2011 and 2014. The results from these interviews have been used in various ways – from publications in scientific journals to influencing decisions at parliamentary level. To read more about findings go to the publications tab on this website.
Through the participation of selected individuals in the SWEOLD study we have been able to report that aches and pains in shoulders, backs, hips and hands as well as mobility issues have increased between 1992 and 2002 in the Swedish population age 77 and above. This change is substantial as there was no significant decrease between 2002 and 2011.
If you want to read more about this (in Swedish) the article can be found in Läkartidningen. Or through this link: http://www.lakartidningen.se/Klinik-och-vetenskap/Originalstudie/2013/08/Aldre-har-fatt-fler-halsoproblem-men-klarar-vardagen-battre/

Contact

The main people involved with this study work at Aging Research Center, a research institute connected to Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University. The project is led by senior fellow and associate professor Carin Lennartsson together with professor Johan Fritzell. The interviews are conducted by IPSOS where Eva Ohlsson is the lead.
If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@sweold.se or contact Ipsos at 0200-33 66 29.

Carin
Lennartsson
Project Lead,

KI
08-524 858 15

Eva
Ohlsson
Interview Lead,

Ipsos
0200-33 66 29

Erika
Augustsson
Project Coordinator,
KI
08-524 881 65