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Getting old is getting ugly in Finland

September 30, 2009
 
A few years ago I was listening to Radio Suomi (YLE) and a program about the elderly revealed a very shocking statistic. Every two days, a Finnish person over the age of 60 takes their own life. How does one respond to that?…
 
Another shocking story related to the elderly and suicide hit the news waves today: http://www.yle.fi/uutiset/news/2009/09/illness_and_loneliness_drive_elderly_to_suicide_1042116.html. Growing old should not be a sad and lonely time!
 
A 2006 poll commissioned by the Tampere-based Aamulehti indicated that only 14 percent of Finns believe they will receive adequate medical care from the public health care system as they age. YLE News reported on this more extensively: http://www.yle.fi/uutiset/news/2006/05/government_concedes_elderly_care_needs_improvement_204031.html
 
Now care for the elderly is about to be debated in Parliament, as there is one thing for sure in Finland – it is terrible and getting worse! The reasons vary: a rapidly aging population, Finns live longer and there are fewer resources to handle the increasing number of elderly people that need care and support.
 
With the current kerfuffle over election campaign funding dominating politics these days, elder care gets a scant mention for debate in Parliament: http://www.yle.fi/uutiset/news/2009/09/government_faces_grilling_by_parliament_over_campaign_financing_1041979.html
 
Eldercare in Question
Parliament will carry out a vote of confidence on eldercare prior to inquiries on campaign financing on Wednesday. Government has promised to write new laws to guarantee quality care for the elderly, admitting that current recommendations are insufficient.
 
Government answered criticism from the opposition regarding eldercare in an interpolation debate on Tuesday.
YLE

Wilted rose

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Nina permalink
    October 4, 2009 12:33 pm

    I plan to switch to care of elderly some day when I’m done with my Tekla career. Will you join me, Carmen? I have dream of setting up a home for elderly. I will cook all their food with my own hands (or well, someone I trust is fine as well) and treat the customers like human beings who have more experience in life than any of us working there.

  2. Carmen permalink
    October 5, 2009 7:27 am

    Nina, I have worked with the elderly before and I think they deserve much more attention in this country than they are currently getting. Yes, please keep me in mind… Older folks certainly need a better hand than the one they have been dealt.

  3. christina permalink
    October 4, 2010 3:48 pm

    I too am a Canadian (half Finn) living in Finland…just discovered your blog via a facebook posting about blogs in Finland. It’s really great!

    I am curious to know if there are any senior centers for activities and learning? Environments which provide the elderly with places to feel productive after retirement, and offer members opportunities for social networking and a sense of belonging/purpose in the community.

    In the community I come from in Canada we have a senior’s center which is run by the seniors in the community, but funded by the municipality. They offer courses, games, social events and so forth. It is a great resource for the seniors to keep them happy and busy. Does this exist in Finland at all?

    • October 12, 2010 11:34 am

      Hi Christina, thanks for dropping in and my apologies for taking so long to reply (still getting used to WordPress). Yes, there seniors day centres where they can gather and take part in different activities. They are called “palvelukeskus” and as far as I know, they are attached to municipal services. I have often wanted to go and check one out, but I haven’t been brave enough to do so yet. When I have more time on my hands I will do just that.

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