It has been demonstrated that persons with dementia may be positioned as less competent than participants of the same age without dementia, and that persons with dementia possibly also are positioned as less competent than other older persons without dementia. In the present study, we aim to explore this further by analysing Swedish assessment meetings, in which needs and preferences are investigated for older persons without dementia. The material consists five audio-recorded assessment meetings, where there were at least two conversational partners present (a spouse and/or a child) and where the older person applying for social services was not diagnosed with dementia. The ages of the older persons ranged from 81 to 88, while the age of the relatives ranged from 46 to 93. The results of the present study demonstrate that older persons without dementia mainly are positioned as competent. However, it may be related to the degree of frailty, since the frailest person in the present study appears to be positioned as less competent than the other participants. The present paper adds to existing knowledge on how professionals in assessment meetings contribute to the positioning of older persons as competent and capable of making decisions. The results of the present article may be useful to promote development of education and training of communication skills for care mangers in assessments in order to further ensure that older persons with and without cognitive impairments can be actively involved in the creation and interpretation of their applications for social services.
Funders: Swedish Riksbankens Jubileumsfond [M10-0187:1]