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FSD3038 Welfare and Services in Finland 2013: Face-to-Face Interviews of the Elderly

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Authors

  • Moisio, Pasi (National Institute for Health and Welfare)

Keywords

activities of daily living, care of the elderly, elderly, family policy, health, health policy, health services, housing of the elderly, informal care, 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 contains a face-to-face survey aimed at the elderly. Main topics included housing, financial circumstances, health and health services, need for care and assistance, informal care, social networks, and quality of life.

Relating to housing, questions charted housing tenure, number of rooms, floor area, satisfaction with various aspects of the housing and the neighbourhood, satisfaction with distances to different services (e.g. grocery shop, bank), and difficulties with the home. The respondents' economic circumstances were surveyed by asking whether they were able to save money after expenses and whether they had run out of money for food in the previous 12 months.

Relating to health and health services, questions were asked about health status, limiting long-term illnesses or disabilities and their impact on daily life, exercise habits, alcohol consumption, smoking, and visits to a doctor or nurse in the previous 12 months. Further questions probed where the respondents would primarily try to get a doctor's appointment during daytime, whether they had been in hospital as an inpatient in the previous 12 months, whether certain things (e.g. lack of money) had prevented them from 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). Perceptions of the quality of public and private health services were surveyed. Visits to a dentist were charted.

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 applied for in the previous 12 months, the most important services in terms of daily life, and financial problems caused by service fees.

With regard to informal care, 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, read books or magazines/newspapers).

Perceptions of quality of life were surveyed 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. quality of sleep, neighbourhood of residence), and negative feelings.

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, ways in which the funding for elderly care could be safeguarded, whether the elderly should spend more of their own savings on their treatment, level of social security, preferable ways of providing health and social services, respect of younger age groups for the ageing population, discrimination against the elderly in Finland, and the development of the household's economic situation and own life circumstances in the future.

Background variables included, among others, the household size, type of municipality of residence, region of residence, hospital district, and disposable income of the household as well as the respondent's year of retirement, latest occupation, occupational status before retirement, gender, age, marital status, and level of education.

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