Traditional Meals and Sense of At-Homeness – Finnish Immigrants with Dementia in Bilingual Residential Care in Sweden


  • Sirpa Rosendahl PhD, Senior Lecturer, Institution of Health Sciences, University of Skövde, Swedene-mail: [email protected]



Dementia, Finnish Immigrants, Home, Meals, Qualitative


For immigrants with dementia the language learnt last is lost first, and then gradually the native language. When dementia has reached its advanced stages, professional care is needed. The transition to a dementia care unit may be a challenge for a person from another cultural background than in the hosting country. In a few cities, care is offered in ethnic settings with bilingual nursing staff and other cultural features familiar to the residents. One cultural aspect is related to meals and the aim of this study was to explore the food-culture in a Finnish-speaking care unit for Finnish-speaking immigrants with dementia in Sweden from the perspectives of bilingual nursing staff and family members. Method: A qualitative design was chosen to understand personal experiences of the care provided to Finnish immigrants with dementia. The 18 participants, caregivers and family members were chosen by purposive sampling. The interviews were based on semi-structured questions and data was analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Two main categories: meals stimulating the appetite and meals as a cultural reminder with respective sub-categories emerged. Findings: Being served traditional meals were important for physical as well as psychological reasons. Finnish dishes that the older persons with dementia recognized and liked, stimulated the appetite and contributed to keep the Finnish residents in good health. Traditional meals were considered triggering the residents´ memories and when celebrating cultural holidays, Finnish dishes were a reminder of the residents´ cultural identity and one of the aspects contributing to a feeling of belonging and at-homeness.




How to Cite

Traditional Meals and Sense of At-Homeness – Finnish Immigrants with Dementia in Bilingual Residential Care in Sweden. (2019). European Journal of Social Sciences, 2(3), 42-50.