Get access

Health resources and health strategies among older Swedish-speaking Finns – a hermeneutic study


Gunilla Kulla, Swedish Polytechnic, Health Care and Social Welfare, Institution of Research and Development, Seriegatan 2, Fin – 65 320 Vasa, Finland.


Research has shown that the Swedish-speaking Finns have better health than the Finnish-speaking majority. The aim of this paper was to explore the health resources and health strategies among home-dwelling Swedish-speaking Finns aged 75 or older. The objective was to develop health-promotive nursing care for this group. Data was collected through recorded semistructured conversations with 22 older persons. The conversations were transcribed and interpreted through a hermeneutic approach. The material was read through several times and compiled into 22 narratives with relevant quotations. The narratives were subsequently summarised into one core narrative under each major category, to present the health resources and health strategies. Six categories were found: the Positive, the Social, the Active, the Adaptable, the Stubborn and the Passive. Within the Positive category, morale played an important role as a health resource and health strategy. Within the Social category, social activities were regarded as both health resources and health strategies, whereas their absence was a health obstacle. Within the Active category, a wide range of physical activities played an important role. Within the Adaptable category, contentment was a health resource. Within the Stubborn category, stubbornness itself was a health resource, whereas strong belief was a health strategy. Within the Passive category, although health obstacles permeated the life context, contentment and caution were seen as health resources. The vision of the future varied from the confidence found in the Positive category to the uncertainty prevalent in the Passive category. The main health resources and strategies used by the elderly Swedish-speaking Finns were related to social and other activities as well as to personality. Transforming health obstacles into resources could be an important health-promotive nursing strategy.