Projects on health-promotion innovations – University of Copenhagen

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Projects on health-promotion innovations

Local practices of active aging

The project on local practices of active aging investigates the following three themes through ethnographic fieldwork as well as policy analysis: Which life ideals are practiced through municipal active aging policies? How is active aging transformed in local, municipal practices? How is active aging packaged, formatted, commercialized and exported?


Post doc Aske Juul Lassen,

Intergenerational relations in age-related transitions

The project on intergenerational relations in age-related transitions addresses the following questions through ethnographic fieldwork: How are transitions from work to retirement and age-influenced changes in living arrangements experienced? How do aging people navigate intergenerational relations, roles and engagement? What effect do intergenerational relations have on the older person’s health practices, identity and experience of energy and resources?


Post doc Kamilla Nørtoft,

Empowering community health

Empowering community health is the subject of a cultural analysis of aging citizens’ practices of ‘health’ and ‘quality of life’ in a Danish municipality. This project asks the following questions: How do aging people in Gentofte Municipality practice ‘health’ and ‘quality of life’ in their everyday lives? How do aging people’s subjective understandings of ‘health’ and ‘quality of life’ relate to their everyday lives? How do interactions between individuals constitute different forms of ‘community’?


PhD student Amy Clotworthy,

Healthy aging among ethnic minorities

The project on healthy aging among ethnic minorities is based on ethnographic fieldwork in Ishøj and sets out to investigate the ways in which ‘healthy aging’ and ‘the good life’ are created and enacted within the context of health promotion. This project targets ethnic minorities, and is expected to provide insight into the effects of public health policy.


PhD student Nanna Hilm,

Negotiating needs, negotiating old age

The project investigates the introduction of enabling care in the context of Danish municipal eldercare. Enabling care is a new mode of eldercare promoting the active participation of older persons in their care, thereby enabling them to become ‘self-helped’. The aim of the project is to shed light on how enabling care reconfigures existing understandings of and practices in relation to older people, in particular how their needs and resources are being negotiated in the relations between various healthcare professionals, older citizens and their relatives, which institutional infrastructures (e.g. policies, work descriptions, assessment tools etc.) these negotiations are contingent on and how they are made to work in practice.


PhD student Malene Bødker,, tel: +45 35 33 20 50

Transferring healthy aging

Community-based health promotion interventions for the elderly are characterized by a high degree of context-dependency, involvement of multiple public and private agencies, and complex behaviors that are shaped by both individual and sociocultural factors developed over a life-course perspective. Identifying community-based health promotion interventions that are effective, acceptable and adapted to the need of the elderly is needed to ensure evidence-based public health. Evaluating the feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of complex public health interventions necessitates new models that are theory-driven and able to comprise multilevel processes and actors. Tensions between intervention fidelity and standardization on one hand and issues related to transferability of interventions across communities and population groups on the other hand are important dimensions to consider. This study explores transferability of community-based health promotion interventions for the elderly with the aim of informing healthy aging policies.


Associate professor Maria Kristiansen,, tel. +45 35 33 48 05

Third sector governance

The project on third sector governance aims to examine how local governments govern the ‘third sector’ (public private co-production of services) – specifically privately run associations that target elderly individuals. The project maps financial setups and economic incentives used to support the collaborative arrangement between three local governments and the community associations that provide services to elderly.


Post doc Christian Elling Scheele,, tel: +45 35 32 37 96

Follow-up home visits

This project evaluates whether follow-up home visits could be a useful tool to improve care, secure cross-sectoral coordination and to prevent re-admission. The project analyses the use of follow-up home visits by general practitioners for older patients after discharge, and to what extent follow-up home visits improve cross-sectoral care coordination. The project also asks which patients (age, gender, diagnosis and socioeconomic status) are receiving follow-up home visits and whether the health trajectories are better for patients who receive follow-up home visits than for those who do not.


Post doc Andreas Rudkjøbing,, tel. +45 35 32 74 93

Elderly, socially-isolated men

An anthropological postdoc project focuses on elderly, socially-isolated men on the eastern part of the island, Møn. Since the men may be difficult to contact, the postdoc has made it a key priority to develop the project in collaboration with the staff at the local health care center. Through intensive ethnographic fieldwork among the elderly on the island, the post-doc project aims at discovering what causes social isolation among elderly men and at finding ways to re-socialize and engage the elderly men within their communities. Aloneness An anthropological study on aloneness takes its point of departure from past fieldwork (carried out in CEHA) among elderly Danish citizens receiving home nursing. The project examines the significance of solitude and aloneness for health, wellbeing and social relations among the elderly.


Post doc Henrik Hvenegaard Mikkelsen,, tel. +45 35 33 29 31

Solitude with a focus on aging people receiving home nursing

People who receive nursing aid in their homes vary according to age, social background, health conditions, functional level and so forth. This project focuses on people above 80 years of age who live alone and who are more or less bound to their homes. The project is guided by a number of questions: How do they experience the fact of loneliness and how does it influence their quality of life? How does solitude relate other life conditions such as autonomy, purpose of living and health and activity levels? Which meaning do they ascribe to the fact of living alone and how do they view this in relation to content of their social relations? The project is a continuation of Bodil Ludvigsen’s previous studies on elderly people in the municipality of Gentofte, which formed the basis of her PhD thesis leading to a PhD degree in anthropology.


Guest researcher Bodil Ludvigsen,; tel. +45 28 88 49 92

Everyday rehabilitation in the elderly care provided by Vordingborg Municipality: A citizen perspective

What happens in the encounter between the municipal care worker and the citizen who has made the request for support and who is offered service in the form of rehabilitation? How does the citizen view and understand the expectations of the municipal worker and how do these expectations tally with the citizen’s own expectations? These questions lay the foundation for this PhD project focusing on the widespread adaptation of rehabilitation as the magic bullet of elder care across the Danish welfare landscape.


Loa KT Christensen,; tel. +45 35 32 28 67

Locating practices of old age

This is a cultural historical study on the configurations and transformations of old age from the end of the 19th century and onwards. Within the setting and practices of the municipal old age home the project investigates: How is old age and the aging body imagined and regulated? How is knowledge on old age and the aging body produced and materialized?


PhD student Anders Møller,

Collaboration and cross-thematic projects


In collaboration with colleagues from the Oxford Institute of Population Aging, we are working on a new research proposal on problems and potentials related to walkability of neighbourhoods for the elderly. This project is expected to yield significant insight into the relationship between physical and social activity and health in older people.


In collaboration with colleagues from the Oxford Institute of Population Aging, we are working on a new research proposal on problems and potentials related to walkability of neighborhoods for the elderly. This project is expected to yield significant insight into the relationship between physical and social activity and health in older people.

LIFESTAT – living with statins

LIFESTAT is an interdisciplinary research project that draws on perspectives from the humanities, the social sciences and health sciences to analyse the impact of the use of the cholesterol lowering drug, statin, on the health, life-style and well-being in aging Danes. Find more information on LIFESTAT

CALM – Counteracting Age-Related Loss of Skeletal Muscle Mass

Counteracting Age-Related Loss of Skeletal Muscle Mass (CALM) is an interdisciplinary and cross-faculty research project at the University of Copenhagen. It brings together physiologists, sensory scientists, microbiologists, historians, and ethnologists through three interlinked research-strands: a clinical trial, a cultural analysis, and an innovation project.

The impetus for the study is the fact that in the coming decades, the number of elderly citizens over age 60 in Denmark will increase by more than 50%. As a consequence, public expenditures for health care and welfare services will rapidly increase unless new evidence-based measures are developed to counteract age-related challenges. One of the most significant challenges is the age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass (1-2% per year), which starts around age 50 in healthy individuals. The resulting loss of strength and functional ability often leads to a decrease in an individual’s quality of life and independence, which has significant personal and societal consequences.

Recent research has shown that a supplement with protein and increased levels of exercise may prevent or slow this age-related loss of muscle mass. But little is known about the optimal combination of protein intake and exercise, nor about the complications that may result from turning these promising ideas into permanent lifestyle changes in a large segment of the population. The CALM project aims to make a significant contribution to current knowledge in the field through generating and combining new knowledge about physiological mechanisms, entrenched lifestyle habits/routines and the existing knowledge that is embedded in a variety of institutions concerned with the elderly population.

The project is affiliated with the Center for Healthy Aging and involves researchers at Ethnology, who are also involved in Center for Healthy Aging Theme 1, health-promotion innovations.

For additional information, please go to