About Livsglede for Eldre (LFE)

The Norwegian foundation Livsglede for Eldre (LFE, translates Joy of Life for the Elderly) is an independent public health organization, engaged in social innovation within elder care and volunteer work. The foundation is religiously and politically independent.


Founded in 2007

LFE was originally a volunteer initiative in 2005, when nursing school students wished to create joyful moments for the elderly in their own community. It was founded in 2007, and has since then evolved into an organization with activities and cooperations with municipalities all over Norway, and is now a significant national social innovator of public health services for the elderly.

Livsgledehjem (Joy of Life Nursing Homes)

Livsglede for Eldre has developed, owns and runs the national certification scheme Livsgledehjem (Joy of Life Nursing Homes). The idea aroused among nursing school students in 2007, and their thesis  was that it must be possible to run a nursing home with joy of life as a basic value. A pilot began in cooperation with the municipality of Trondheim and the Governor of Sør-Trøndelag County in 2008. The certification system was then developed and tested at two public nursing homes, and the first two certificates were issued in 2011. Livsgledehjem became a national certification system the same year. Now it is being spread throughout nursing homes nation-wide in cooperation with the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services and the Directorate of Health.

Livsgledehjem is a system tool for nursing homes, based on nine criteria (see below), aiming to stimulate each resident´s individual psychosocial needs. Cultural, spiritual and social needs are as important as the needs for medicine, nutrition and elementary care, and through Livsgledehjem, everyday life becomes more joyous and meaningful, even for the most fragile. The system is based on a thorough mapping of each resident´s background and personal preferences. This is the basis for individual activity plans, which activities are subsequently implemented, documented, evaluated and updated. The system ensures that activities offered are indeed meaningful for each individual. By linking Livsgledehjem to the institution´s procedures and routines, the work becomes sustainable, regardless of who is at work. It encourages activities that are possible to carry out during regular workdays, without extra staffing. To succeed, the nursing homes must establish sustainable routines for cooperation with volunteers and external resources, e.g. children and school pupils, relatives and next of kin, local NGOs, sports clubs and local businesses.

The nine criteria:

  1. All employees at the nursing home must know what Livsgledehjem is, and work according to its standards.
  2. The nursing home must facilitate cooperation with schools, kindergartens, volunteers and organizations.
  3. The nursing home must facilitate that every resident can enjoy fresh air at least once a week.
  4. The nursing home must facilitate interactions with animals.
  5. The nursing home must ensure that their residents can maintain their hobbies and interests.
  6. The nursing home must ensure that musical, cultural and spiritual needs are met.
  7. The nursing home must facilitate a calm and pleasant atmosphere during meals.
  8. The nursing home must ensure that family and next of kin are informed and get to parttake in meaningful activities.
  9. The nursing home must ensure that the changing seasons play a noticable part in daily life.

Links to research on Joy of Life Nursing Homes:

Joy of Life for the Elderly in schools and kindergartens

Most elderly find great joy in the company of children and youths, but most Norwegian youngsters do not associate with the eldest on a frequent basis. We have therefore developed programs for kindergartens, schools and high schools. By organizing activities through kindergartens and schools, we create a sustainable learning environment, which has a health promoting effect on both young and old. This also gives the nursing home residents a chance to be an asset to the children. For students in high school health programs, it is a golden opportunity to get practical hands-on knowledge about medical issues, but also a glimpse into elder care practice. Through establishing a partnership with nursing homes, students can regularly face learning arenas similar to those of their future professions within health care. With emphasis on communication and “golden moments” in a nursing home environment, they are trained in individual care. We aim to give our next generations a different view of the elderly, so that they see them in the light of who they are, and who they used to be. Our hope and firm belief is that structured cooperation between schools, kindergartens and nursing homes will encourage young people to choose a career within elderly care, alternatively to engage them in volunteer work within the sector.

Volunteer work

We have several subsidiary local chapters with volunteers of all ages in most parts of Norway. Each chapter has their own board, and are free to decide what events they wish to arrange for elderly in their local communities, and how often. Livsglede for Eldre provides local chapters with guidance and counselling by their own choosing.

If you want to learn more, please contact us at post@livsgledeforeldre.no.