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FSD2885 Welfare and Services in Finland 2004: Face-to-Face Interviews of the Elderly

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Authors

  • Moisio, Pasi (National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (STAKES))

Keywords

activities of daily living, care of the elderly, elderly, family policy, health, health policy, health services, home help, housing of the elderly, living conditions, quality of life, satisfaction, social and welfare policy, social networks, social services, social welfare, well-being (health)

Abstract

Welfare and Services in Finland is a panel survey that combines telephone and face-to-face interviews, postal surveys and register data. The aim of the study is to offer up-to-date, reliable and extensive research data on Finnish welfare and the use of welfare services. This dataset is based on data collected through face-to-face interviews from people aged over 79. Main topics included parents and childhood, housing, economic circumstances, physical and mental health, accessibility and use of health services, need for care and assistance, social networks, and feelings about own life.

First, the respondents were asked about their parents' latest occupations, financial circumstances in the childhood home, the respondent's status in employment and occupation before retiring, and age when retired. Relating to current housing, questions charted tenure, number of rooms, floor area, satisfaction with various aspects of the housing, and difficulties with the home. Some questions studied the respondents' economic circumstances, for example, savings and ability to pay for food. They were also asked whether different services were close enough to their home (e.g. grocery shop, bank).

Relating to health, questions were asked about health status, exercise habits, alcohol consumption, smoking, limiting long-term illnesses or disabilities and their effects on daily life, and visits to a doctor, nurse or hospital in the previous 12 months. Further questions probed where the respondents would primarily try get a doctor's appointment during daytime, whether they had received sufficient care for health problems, which reasons had potentially hampered receiving treatment, and whether they had had to wait unreasonably long to receive treatment (e.g. to get a doctor's appointment in a health centre). Dental health and visits to a dentist were surveyed as well as prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs and natural remedies used.

Need for care and assistance was charted by asking about managing with daily activities without help, help received for different activities, sufficiency of and satisfaction with the assistance received, person or organisation who helped the respondents the most, services requested in the previous 12 months, the most important services in terms of daily life, and financial problems caused by service fees.

With regard to social networks and participation, the respondents were asked whether they assisted or looked after a person close to them, how often they were in touch with different people, how satisfied they were with their relationships and support received from other people, whether they had felt lonely in the previous two weeks, whether they had enough time to do things and enough activities during the day, and which activities they had done in the previous two weeks (e.g. participated in the activities of an organisation or association, tutored or mentored other people). Several questions relating to thoughts and feelings were presented (e.g. "Do you get angry more easily than before?"). Further questions charted perceptions of the quality of life as well as satisfaction with own health, experiences of physical pain, enjoyment of life, sense of significance, ability to focus on things, sense of security or insecurity in daily life, healthiness of physical environment, ability to do things (in terms of, for instance, money and energy), ability to move, satisfaction with various things in life (e.g. neighbourhood of residence), negative feelings, and experiences of great personal significance in the previous two years.

Finally, relating to attitudes, the respondents' views were charted on the best housing alternative for elderly people who require care and assistance, the body that should hold the main responsibility for elderly care in Finland, respect of younger age groups for the ageing population, ways in which the funding for elderly care could be safeguarded, discrimination against the elderly in Finland, preferable ways of providing health services, and the development of the household's economic situation and own life circumstances in the future.

Background variables included the respondent's age, gender, and education (3-level ISCED classification) as well as disposable income of the household, region of residence, degree of urbanisation of the municipality of residence, household size, and number of children in the household.

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