Title of ArticleActive ageing
Type of ArticleSpecial issue article
Author/sFrode F. Jacobsen
ReferenceVolume 7, Special Issue on Enhancing wellbeing: practice and politics, Article 3
Date of PublicationSeptember 2017
Keywordsactive ageing, health policy, older people, tacit assumptions, White Papers

Background: The concept of active ageing has been gaining prominence in the Nordic countries and beyond. This has been reflected in policy papers in Norway and other Nordic nations.

Aims: The aim of this article is to analyse the topic of active ageing in five Norwegian White Papers (2002 to 2015) and discuss those policy documents in context of relevant research literature.

Methods: A qualitative document analyses is employed focusing on how active ageing, and ageing in general, is described and which concepts are employed. No ethical approval was needed.

Findings: The general theme of ageing and the specific theme of active ageing are increasingly prominent in the Norwegian White Papers studied. In all documents, some assumptions regarding ageing and active ageing seem implicit, such as independence being more important than (inter)dependence. ‘Productive’ activities like participation in working life are stressed, while others, like reading, watching TV or watching children playing in the street, are ignored.

Conclusions: The policy documents demonstrate that the topic of active ageing is growing in importance. The documents increasingly seem to stress ‘productive’ activities – those related to working life, voluntary work or sports and physical training. They exclude activities that are meaningful for many older people, like watching their grandchildren play or reading books.

Implications for practice:

  • Practitioners in older people’s care could consider reflecting on:
  • Government documents dealing with their own practice
  • The prevalent concept of active ageing
  • The trend of active ageing as a facilitating or hindering factor for good care work
  • How present discourse on active ageing may influence their attitude towards frail older persons
  • How they wish to relate to active ageing in their own practice

This article by Frode F. Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

In this section