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The history of care in Solhaga


Sonja Jeppesen came to Solhaga By in 1974 to work as a kitchen assistant. Together with Bellstasund, Solhaga eventually became the start of Solhagagruppen, but the history of Solhaga goes back to 1927.

According to Sonja, however, who is now Operations Manager at the day centre that provides occupational engagement at Solhaga By, two other major changes had the most significant impact.

When she began work as a kitchen assistant over 40 years ago, it was a summer job and her first colleagues were the girls who did the washing up. These girls, who had developmental disabilities, lived at the care home and helped out in the kitchen. The years at Solhaga By have been a “rousing story”, says Sonja.

During the 1970s, people began viewing those who needed care as individuals. This brought an end to the antiquated system of looking after these persons in large groups.

“Previously, 16 people could live together. But we divided them up into groups of eight in each residence and we started to work using small-group principles.”

Significant changes took place at the end of the 1970s and into the 1980s. One big step was when people started to learn about autism and how disabilities should be treated.

“In the 1970s, we could talk in broad terms and in depth about the care situation, but the people we were taking care of had no opportunity to take part in the dialogue,” says Sonja.

A paradigm shift in the 1980s with regard to the understanding of autism changed the whole basis of how care was provided. TEACCH, a structured method of approach, was introduced and psychologists and educationalists were employed at the facilities.

Families started the business in 1927

Solhaga’s history goes back to 1927. A couple of families who provided care for their sons started a care operation called Skansen, located in Lödöse in Västra Götaland County on the west coast of Sweden. After a few changes in ownership, the care home was taken over in 1951 by Arvid and Ingegerd Ekman, who specialised in looking after adults with disabilities. The fairly secluded country mansion house, which was situated high on a hill and surrounded by a park, became home to between 40 and 60 people. In the 1950s there were no single rooms. Everyone lived in large rooms and all the food was prepared in a large communal kitchen – the very same one in which Sonja began her professional career.

Eventually, Arvid and Ingegerd’s son, Karl Ekman, and his wife Maud took over operations at the care home. Changes in legislation also took place around that time. With the Care Act and LSS, the Act Concerning Support and Service for Persons with Certain Functional Impairments, the business changed and grew into what is now Solhaga By. When the LSS law was introduced in 1994, the care home closed and residents moved into newly-built group homes instead. Today, homes for children, a school and a day centre offering occupational engagement are also situated in Lödöse. Parts of the original mansion house are now incorporated into Kullabacken, which provides accommodation for children and young people. Solhaga By also runs operations in Lilla Edet and Göteborg.

In 2007, some 80 years after it began, Solhaga By was combined with Bellstasund Omsorger in Vallentuna to form Solhagagruppen. In 2016 Solhagagruppen became part of Nytida.

Read more about Kullabacken