The “stayers”. Life-long sedentary behaviour, family and ageing in Sweden

Anna Hjälm, Umeå University

Although “staying”, in the sense of not moving, is a common feature in human life, it remains heavily under researched. Among the few studies addressing the life and decisions of non-migrant we find register studies focusing on economical effects and reasons for sedentary behaviour and survey based studies focusing on what place characteristics make people stay. Less is known about sedentary behaviour from a family or network perspective. From this point of view it is possible that the “stayers”, as they may have many long-term relationships – to the house, the place, the view, the friends and family, have a broader social network – or – that the “staying” behaviour has rendered those staying put a lot of “broken” links in the network, when others moved away and familiar settings changed. In an ageing society, where social networks has been shown to be of importance for old age well-being, this notion of long relationships or broken links calls for attention. In this study, a work in progress, the focus is set on the extreme end of the migratory scale – the life long “stayers” and their families. In the study the behaviour of Swedish born citizens aged 60 and older is explored using both qualitative and quantitative data. In an initial part some descriptive statistics of “staying” and family, and the possibilities and limitations of Swedish register data is explored, using longitudinal micro-level population data from the Linnaeus Database. The second part of the paper, based on interviews with life long “stayers” in the town of Umeå, Sweden, seeks a fuller understanding of how life long staying and the effects on social networks is understood and described by those living it.

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Presented in Session 20: Ageing in place and older migrants

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