Health, well being, and social relations at Taastrupgaard
Taastrupgaard is one of Denmark’s most ethnically diverse and deprived social housing areas, and it has a large share of senior residents—some dealing with cultural differences, low trust in authorities, and language barriers, on top of physical aging. The area also has designated senior housing. STRIT is a CEHA observational and interventional study that seeks to improve health, well-being, and social relations among the middle-aged and older residents while the area’s built environment is undergoing structural changes. Interventions designed for and by residents at Taastrupgaard can eventually benefit similar housing areas and seniors from ethnic backgrounds other than Danish.
The project involves three types of interventions: (1) facilitating cultural and communal activities for residents across ethnicities; (2) helping the residents voice and visualize their concerns and wishes for the area’s redevelopment
process; and (3) developing effective health information formats with residents from ethnic minority backgrounds during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Preliminary outcomes include a series of social outings chosen by residents (e.g., the zoo; Egeskov Castle; and Lübeck, Germany), building social relations in the community across ethnicities (e.g., by communal debate meetings and visualization workshops), and a participatory process involving the residents and a graphic facilitator to produce narratives about life during the COVID-19 pandemic as a means to explore ways of engaging hard-to-reach groups in research. During the process, residents took part in producing COVID-19 guideline communication materials targeting social housing residents, health professionals, and older adults from ethnic minority backgrounds, as well as the free book I count the stars while I wait—Corona stories from public housing (2021). These materials and the book are examples of health communication that takes residents’ needs and cultural prerequisites into account and gives them the confidence to voice their perspective.
The project began in 2018 with financial support from Nordea-fonden, Ensomme Gamles Værn, Helsefonden and Velliv.
Project manager: Professor Rikke Lund
Collaborators: Inhabitants at Taastrupgaard, Taastrup Municipality and Illustrator Mette Jeppesen