Global prospects

Sweden: the Safety of Older People


The OECD Review of Risk Management Policies in Sweden concerning the safety of older people is the second country report conducted in the framework of the OECD Futures Project on Risk Management Policies.
The main object of the report is the analysis and appraisal of Sweden’s policy approach to the prevention and treatment of falls among older people. The report's analysis is in part based on the working paper: "OECD Study in Risk Management: Satety of the Elderly " which gave a first introduction to the topic.

Injuries from falls among the elderly are set to become a major social and economic problem in the years to come. In Europe alone some 50 000 older people die of fall injuries every year, the equivalent of the annual death toll of road accidents for all age groups taken together. As the share of the population aged 65 and over grows rapidly in the next decades across most of the OECD, the number of fall-related injuries could rise dramatically, and with it, the strains on hospitals, medical services, social services and public budgets. Yet, in most countries the problem has so far received little attention. Fall prevention is very rarely treated in a systematic way at the national level. And at the local, regional and national levels of government, responsibility for it is often stretched tenuously among different actors and sectors, such as health care, public health, urban planning and rescue services, sometimes leading to overlaps and inefficiencies.           

This OECD review of risk management policies focuses on Sweden because, with the ageing of its society already at a quite advanced stage, it exemplifies many of the current and future problems that OECD countries face in addressing fall-related injuries and fatalities among the elderly. The report looks at Sweden's policies in the area of older people's safety and well-being, seeking out and identifying good practices and areas where improvements could be made. It offers lessons that other countries can also draw from. While the report underscores the importance of the management of fall accidents, it also emphasizes the more general point that multidisciplinary and forward-looking approaches to safety and risk are essential for any policy concerning older people.

The review was carried out within the framework of the OECD Futures Project on Risk Management Policies. A French translation of the executive summary has been included in this volume.


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