The emergence of COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it, arguably none more so than for older people. In Sweden, the majority of COVID-19-related fatalities have been among people aged ⩾70 years, many of whom were receiving health and social care services. The pandemic has illuminated aspects within the care continuum requiring evaluative research, such as decision-making processes, the structure and organisation of care, and interventions within the complex public-health system. This short communication highlights several key areas for future interdisciplinary and multi-sectorial collaboration to improve health and social care services in Sweden. It also underlines that a valid, reliable and experiential evidence base is the sine qua non for evaluative research and effective public-health systems.