Reablement in Long-Term Care for Older People
International Perspectives and Future Directions

3: The ideas of reablement and their travel across time and space

Reablement approaches are growing rapidly across the Western world, reflecting ideas such as ‘healthy and active ageing’, which have framed reforms in health and social policies since the 1990s. Across world regions, there is today a general agreement that reablement is a person-centred approach, aiming to enhance the functioning and independence of older citizens through interprofessional training and activating them at home, thus reducing their need for long-term care. This chapter investigates how ideas of reablement have travelled and materialised into similar policies, activities, and institutional practices of reablement within and across different world regions.

Inspired by theories of ‘rhetorical frames’ and ‘travels of ideas’, we have interviewed eight key informants and studied policy documents and online information resources from governing authorities, representing three world regions. The analysis supports the argument that the travelling of ideas is quite complex and characterised by circularity rather than linearity. It focuses on the sustainability of the long-term care systems and the local and national needs to find efficient and cost-saving approaches. Our findings also indicate that transnational ideas of ‘successful ageing’, ‘active and healthy citizens’ have travelled to local and national practice, but also from local bottom-up initiatives to the agendas of supranational organisations.

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