Services to elderly people

In order to carry out daily tasks and to participate in a social life, the Nordic countries provides services to elderly people. Home help and lodging in nursing homes on a temporary or indefinite duration are the most common services.

Institutions, home help, etc.

In the Nordic countries, most older people live in ordinary housing. Only a minority live in specially adapted housing, which can be divided into the following:

  • Nursing homes, homes for the long-term ill/old people’s homes
  • Serviced flats, collective housing and housing in which special care is provided

In Finland, elderly people may also, to a varying extent, be offered long-term medical treatment in hospital wards, often in health centres. Institutional long-term care will only be considered when it is medically justified. In the Nordic countries, some nursing homes also have special wards to which elderly people who live on their own may be admitted on a short-term basis when necessary. The countries also provide home help for elderly people. The extent of the help is determined based on individual need and may vary from a few hours per month to several hours per day. It is organised by local authorities and provided by local-authority or privately employed staff.

The statistics concerning home help in the Nordic countries are not easily comparable. The figures for Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Norway, Finland and Sweden are snapshots, while the Icelandic data consists of information on how many people received help during the year.


Support schemes and leisure activities

In the Nordic countries, local authorities or private companies provide support schemes and activating measures for pensioners. The range of services and activities varies between countries and between local authorities. No comparable statistics are available on the extent of these activities.

Support schemes aim to enable elderly people to remain in their own homes for as long as possible, and may encompass meal deliveries, telephone security chains, home-visiting schemes, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, hairdressing, pedicure, gardening and snow-clearing. Washing and clothes-mending schemes are also available. There are no centrally agreed policies regarding payment, but fees are usually charged for meals, pedicures and gardening. Some of the activities may be based in special centres for elderly people.

A transport service scheme is available for elderly or disabled people who are unable to use public transport or get about on their own.