Research

Aging Finns enjoy a high level of well-being but also have concerns

Two persons varnishing nails.
Photograph: Jonne Renvall/Tampere University
Finns aged 65–84 generally enjoy a high level of well-being preliminary results from the SoWell postal survey show.

The majority of respondents (78%, N=3,088) were satisfied with their current life and 85% accepted that the COVID-19 measures Finland introduced to limit the social contacts of people over 70 years of age were appropriate. Almost all respondents (93%) had at least one close relationship in their lives and the majority (95%) found that they can depend on help from others when they need it. A large majority (82%) found their lives meaningful. Family, friends, nature and hobbies brought joy to most people.

However, older people in Finland also have some concerns. About half of the respondents had some health issue that affected their daily life. When asked about their current or future concerns, many said they were concerned about their own health (58%) and even more so about the health of their close ones (72%). Inequality in Finland (41%) and in the world (43%) was another cause for concern. Access to older people’s services and care has been much discussed in recent years. The majority of respondents felt confident that they would have access to health care, but there was less confidence regarding access to old age services. Less than half (39%) were confident that older people will have access to home care services when they need them. An even smaller proportion felt confident about access to good end-of-life care (32%) and round-the-clock care (21%).

Further analyses in the SoWell project will examine the associations between social well-being and age, gender, marital status, services, living environment, hobbies, and functional capacity. In addition, we will examine what kind of technology older people use and how they experience the changes brought about by technology in their daily lives and social relationships.

The survey was conducted as part of the Aging and Social Well-Being (SoWell) project, which is studying older people’s views on well-being and associated factors. A total of 3,088 Finnish people aged 65–84 responded to the survey, with a response rate of 62%. The data were collected between November 2020 and April 2021. Since 2018, the project has been funded by the Päivikki and Sakari Sohlberg Foundation. More detailed results will be published in national and international science journals, and information on new publications and public seminars will also be posted on the project’s website at https://projects.tuni.fi/sowell/in-english/.

Further information:
Kristina Tiainen, Senior Research Fellow
kristina.tiainen [at] tuni.fi
tel. +358 40 1901648

Marja Jylhä, Professor of Gerontology
marja.jylha [at] tuni.fi
tel. +358 40 5881900

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