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01.12.2014 | Original Article | Ausgabe 4/2014

Health Care Analysis 4/2014

Seeking Connections, Creating Movement: The Power of Altruistic Action

Health Care Analysis > Ausgabe 4/2014
Tineke A. Abma, Vivianne Baur


Participation of older people in designing and improving the care and services provided in residential care settings is limited. Traditional forms of democratic representation, such as client councils, and consumer models are management-driven. An alternative way of involving older people in the decisions over their lives, grounded in notions of care ethics and deliberative democracy, was explored by action research. In line with this tradition older people engage in collective action to enhance the control over their lives and those of others. In this article the theoretical background of altruistic action is presented and illustrated by a case example of a group of older women who changed the food policies within their residential home. Altruistic action is the joint and coordinated action by a group of clients based on their agenda. Such action is given in by a shared dissatisfaction and search for connections. Altruistic action may enhance the sense of self, belonging and ownership, and create a transformative movement enhancing the wellbeing and community life in residential settings.

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