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01.12.2012 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2012 Open Access

BMC Health Services Research 1/2012

Measuring the value of older people's production: a diary study

BMC Health Services Research > Ausgabe 1/2012
Klas-Göran Sahlen, Curt Löfgren, Håkan Brodin, Lars Dahlgren, Lars Lindholm
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1472-6963-12-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Klas-Göran Sahlen, Curt Löfgren, Håkan Brodin, Lars Dahlgren and Lars Lindholm contributed equally to this work.

Competing interests

All authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors' contributions

All authors have contributed to this manuscript. KGS participated in the discussion of the design and drafted the manuscript. HB. LD and LL contributed in the discussion of the design. LL participated in the design of the article and all authors contributed to finalising the result and discussion sections. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.



The productive capacity of retired people is usually not valued. However, some retirees produce much more than we might expect. This diary-based study identifies the activities of older people, and suggests some value mechanisms. One question raised is whether it is possible to scale up this diary study into a larger representative study.


Diaries kept for one week were collected among 23 older people in the north of Sweden. The texts were analysed with a grounded theory approach; an interplay between ideas and empirical data.


Some productive activities of older people must be valued as the opportunity cost of time or according to the market value, and others must be valued with the replacement cost. In order to make the choice between these methods, it is important to consider the societal entitlement. When there is no societal entitlement, the first or second method must be used; and when it exists, the third must be used.


An explicit investigation of the content of the entitlement is needed to justify the choice of valuation method for each activity. In a questionnaire addressing older people's production, each question must be adjusted to the type of production. In order to fully understand this production, it is important to consider the degree of free choice to conduct an activity, as well as health-related quality of life.
Authors’ original file for figure 1
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