In Finland, municipalities organise many services for the elderly to make their lives easier and to enable them live in their own homes for as long as possible. If you have a municipality of residence in Finland, you are entitled to receive the services that your municipality offers.
Even if your health is poor, you can live at home if your home functions well for you. Alteration work can be done to your home to make living there easier.
It is the duty of municipalities to organise service housing and support housing for those who need it. Read more on the InfoFinland web page Support and service housing.
Immigrants who have lived in Finland long enough will receive an old age or work disability pension on the same grounds as all other people residing in Finland. The amount of pension they receive is dependent on how long they have lived or worked in Finland. Guarantee pension, however, secures minimum livelihood for those who have lived in Finland for at least three years. More information is available on the InfoFinland web page Pension.
If you have trouble getting about, you can borrow various devices to help you, such as crutches or a walker. If you need such devices, contact your own health centre first. The health centre will provide you with more information about these devices.
In the winter it is often slippery outside. Shoemakers and some large supermarkets sell anti-slip soles (liukueste) that can be attached to the bottom of ordinary shoes. You can also buy studded shoes (nastakengät) from a shoe shop, these make walking on slippery streets easier.
Municipalities organise home care (kotihoito) for the elderly, which entails day-to-day assistance and nursing at home. Home care encompasses home services, home nursing and support services.
Home services are help with day-to-day activities, such as washing and dressing oneself and eating. Home nursing is nursing and rehabilitation that takes place at home. A doctor writes a referral for home nursing. In addition to this, support services are available, which include meal, cleaning, shopping, security and transport services.
If you require home care, please contact the home care unit of your municipality. Municipal home care is subject to a fee. When the home care is regular, your income and that of your spouse affect the cost of the home care. Temporary home care costs the same for everyone. The municipality may also provide you with a service voucher you can use to purchase services from a service provider approved by the municipality.
If you have a municipality of residence in Finland, you are entitled to use public health services. If you fall ill, contact your local health centre. More information is available on the InfoFinland page Health services in Finland.
Taking care of a family member at home
When a family member needs help continuously and his/her care is binding and demanding, it is possible to get allowance for informal care (omaishoidontuki) for it. This allowance is intended for people who have a municipality of residence in Finland. The amount of the allowance and the criteria for getting it may vary from one municipality to another. You can apply for the allowance at the Social Welfare Office (sosiaalitoimisto) of your own municipality. In order to qualify for this allowance, you must make an informal care agreement (omaishoitosopimus) with your municipality. Your local Social Welfare Office will provide more information about the allowance for informal care.
In addition to the remuneration, municipalities can organise various services in order to support informal care. Municipalities also arrange daytime activities (päivätoiminta) for the elderly. Daytime activities include transport, a meal, exercise, for example. Ask for more information at your local Social Welfare Office.