Independent Living for People with Disabilities of All Ages.
Given the increasing number of older persons relative to the working age population, record level taxes and baby boomers’ demands for self-determination and quality of life, which changes might the Scandinavian welfare model have to undergo in order to deliver long term care to all who need it? In Sweden, direct payments for personal assistance are paid to mainly younger persons with extensive disabilities. In terms of perceived quality and cost per hour of service, direct payments have been found to be more efficient than traditional local government services. But would this favorable experience hold for all persons in need of assistance with the activities of daily living – regardless of age, diagnosis and minimum needs? What would be such a policy’s cost and effects on the labor market? How could it be financed? Would it threaten younger disabled persons’ relative favorable present situation? Today’s Swedish policy of cash payments for the purchase of personal assistance services might be of interest as a long term care solution for tomorrow’s older persons.