CHARM - Care, Health and Ageing of Russian-speaking Minority in Finland

CHARM project investigates health, wellbeing, and questions of care in the lives of older Russian-speaking migrants in Finland. Additionally, the subproject is interested in the use of formal and informal care, local and transnational ties, and use of digital technologies of this group. The study is conducted as a postal survey using a random sample of Russian origin migrants aged 50 years or older permanently residing in Finland (gross sample of 3000).

Research themes

  1. Health, wellbeing, and the use of health care services
  2. Care preferences, practices, and needs: formal and informal care, caregiving
  3. Transnational and translocal caring ties
  4. Questions of integration and identity: host society, ethnic and transnational integration
  5. The use of digital technologies and inequalities related to this

Data on the living conditions of older migrants and their use of health and social care services are internationally scarce and little research has been conducted on this topic in Finland. This research aims to contribute to filling this gap by providing generalizable evidence on the issue by investigating older Russian migrants in Finland

DigiIN - Towards Socially Inclusive Digital Society

The number of digital public services is increasing rapidly in Finland. Since the new digital services rely on self-management, clients are expected to take a more skilled and active role. However, there is a risk that the implementation of new digital services will increase social exclusion if the needs of vulnerable groups, such as older people, migrants, and those with substance abuse problems, are not taken into consideration. The aims of DigiIN project are: 1) to reform the health and social care service culture; 2) to guarantee better digital services for everyone; 3) to prevent the marginalisation of those who are the most vulnerable.

The DigiIN project is a collaboration between the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Aalto University, University of Helsinki, University of Jyväskylä, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, and Age Institute.

Language diversity and vulnerability in social work in the era of digitalisation (SOSKIELI), 2021-2023

The SOSKIELI research project brings together a multidisciplinary team of researchers to examine language diversity and vulnerability in a digitalising social work context. Drawing on methods of co-creative research the aim is to advance social work theory, research, and practice based on linguistic diversity and linguistic justice through the empirical lens of four categories of non-native speaking service users: families with disabled and non-disabled children, young people, and persons 65 and over. Funded by the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Ordering the "Migrant Family": Power Asymmetries and Citizenization in Restructuring Welfare Bureaucracies (MigraFam)

The MigraFam research project (funded by the Academy of Finland 2017–2021, extended to 2023) draws on a collective ethnographic approach to examine institutional power and migrant citizenization in the Helsinki capital region and tackle the politicized social category of the ‘migrant family’. The multidisciplinary base of the research team is used to advance the theorization of the power asymmetry work – citizenization nexus in the context of (1) institutional practice, (2) professional knowledge base, and (3) public discourse. Furthermore, the research pays specific attention to how the managerialist individualization of society at large is redefining the normative basis of Nordic social work and its encounters with human complexity.

Professional expertise in the multilingual landscape of welfare service work (2021–2022)

The project examines implications of welfare state restructuring on professional and paraprofessional welfare service work, building on the critical case of community interpreting as embodied, affective practice. Funded by Högskolestiftelsen, Finland.

Approaching Social Death – Challenges in End-of-Life Care of Older Adults with Dementia

Approaching Social Death -research concentrates on the end-of-life of older persons with dementing illnesses residing in nursing homes. According to prior research, these people are in danger of dying socially far before their last breath. Social death occurs when a person is left out of interaction and is perceived to be “as good as dead” while still being alive. Dementing illnesses tend to push people outside communication at some stage of the progressive disease and thus increase the risk of social death. Since dying from dementia is a social process as much as it is a physiological one, we need to better picture the process to improve the quality of life of these people at the very end of it.

Transnational health: A mixed-methods study on cultural conceptions and practices of health

The TRANSHEALTH-project covers two key aspects. First, we investigate the experiences and reasons of health-related travel among Russian-speaking immigrants, who have moved to Finland from Russia and the former Soviet Union countries. Second, we explore tourists from Finland, Russia, and Estonia, who look for health and wellness services in their neighbouring countries.

Together these two approaches, immigrant health and health, and wellness tourism create a research setting, which allows for detailed examination of a variety of health-seeking strategies and wellness enhancing lifestyles of people with different cultural and sociodemographic backgrounds. The project seeks to increase understanding of cultural conceptions of health and well-being, transnational patients’ and tourists’ experiences, barriers of access to services of different customer groups, as well as national and transnational inequalities and intersecting power relations related to health.

Our project is built on mixed methods, combining qualitative and quantitative viewpoints, methods, and data.

Laura Kemppainen (Project leader), Young-Kyu Shin, Veera Katariina Koskinen, Inna Maria Inkeri Perheentupa.



Ageing Immigrancy as a category of recognition and transition

The subproject Ageing immigrancy as a category of recognition and transition studies construction of immigrancy, multiculturalism, and equality in the activities and services implemented by the third sector organizations. The subproject focuses on challenges and reformation needs faced by the health and social services due to the increasing diversity of the older people regarding Finnish and Swedish language skills, cultural, religious, and educational backgrounds, family models, working life histories etc.

Dr. Ulla Buchert is a responsible person for the subproject

Living transnational Family Life under Disrupted Mobility: Affinities in Conditions of Crisis

Anna Simola’s postdoctoral study investigates the experiences of European migrants, who maintain their family relations across nations states’ borders, regarding various crises creating uncertainty, hindrance, and moral dilemmas in terms of mobility and travel. It looks at three contemporary crises (the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit, and the Climate crisis) that all have potentially disrupted people’s tacit but fundamental assumptions, perceptions, and routines regarding mobility and traveling in the global North. The study seeks to understand how people’s experiences, perceptions, and feelings of living transnational family life evolve under the changing social and legal norms that result from these crises. It develops a novel, phenomenologically oriented approach that allows an in-depth examination of the need for physical proximity within transnational families, and the interplay between this need and the dilemmas and obstacles of traveling.

Self-management and self-modification in older age and elderly care work

Dr Antero Olakivi's research in the CoE AgeCare covers diverse thematic issues, including inequalities in elderly care work organisations, contemporary trends of elderly care management and managerialism, and everyday moralities of caregiving and reception in older age. Theoretically, Olakivi has a specific interest in care workers' and older persons' self-management and self-modification as political imperatives and emerging targets of expert intervention. Intersectionality and transnationalism are cross-cutting themes in Olakivi's research.

Transnational Lived Citizenship Later in Life – Everyday Practices of Belonging by Older Russian-Speaking Migrants in Finland (researcher: Anastasia Asikainen)

The subproject conducted in the form of a doctoral thesis aims to find a nuanced understanding of what kinds of issues older (65+) Russian-speaking migrants, who have mostly migrated later in life, face and negotiate to find a sense of belonging in Finland. The research is situated at the intersection of migration studies, ageing studies, and third sector studies. The empirical data were attained in a meeting place organised for Russian speakers over the age of 65 in the capital area of Finland. The theoretical concepts and approaches are related to negotiations of groupness, critical observations of ‘integration’ means for older migrants and interdependences of families and the third sector