Ageing policy

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Finland is rapidly ageing

Finland has one of the oldest populations in Europe and we are living in a historical era of four concurrent generations. The population is rapidly ageing as the people in Finland are living longer at the same time as the age of first-time mothers has risen and birth rates have declined.

The baby boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1949, will pose a specific challenge to the service system despite the fact that they are likely to age with better health and functional ability than previous generations.

The share of over-65-year-olds of the population will increase from the current 22 percent to 26 percent by 2030 and to 29 percent by 2060.

The population pyramid is narrowed at the bottom. Most of the population consists of 30 to 75 year olds. The birthrate has fallen especially in the last ten years.

Population according to age (1-year) and gender 2020 (Statistics Finland). Population structure data is available from Statistics Finland website also in table format and as excel file. Statistics Finland website

Most of the older people live at their own homes
Service type / 75+ year old population (%) 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 Target
Living at their own home 90,6 90,9 91,1 91,3 93,0* 91,9 92,6 92,0
Regular home care 11,8 11,3 11,3 17,0** 16,5 15,9 15,7 13,0
Compensated informal care 4,7 4,7 4,8 4,8 4,8 4,6 4,6 5,5
Service housing with 24-hour care and support 7,1 7,3 7,5 7,6 7,3 7,3 6,7 7,0
Institutional care 2,1 1,7 1,5 1,3 1,0 0,7 0,5 < 2,0

Proportion of 75-year-old and older population in older people services (, *Statistics Finland, **changed indicator).

As the population ages, the share of working-age people is reduced in relation to the rest of the population. As a result, there is a threat that the number of employees in older people services will be insufficient.

Finnish social welfare and health care reform

A major reform of the structures of the social welfare and health care services system is going on in Finland. The purpose is to reduce health disparities, improve the equality and availability of services as well as to hold costs in check.

The services for older people will be redeveloped in response to the change in the age structure along with the revision of the service structure.

The objectives are to

  • create equal, well-coordinated and integrated services for older people
  • ensure healthy and active ageing by providing multidisciplinary rehabilitation
  • improve allocation of home care and other services that support living at home for older people
  • establish practices to support the health and well-being of informal and adult foster carers. 

Policy focus on promoting functional ability, independent living and active participation

Finland has begun seeking new ways to respond to the needs for care and support of older people with declined functional ability. Producing older people services more innovatively and effectively will likely slow down the increase in social and health care costs in the coming years. 

In Finland, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health sets out the policy concerning ageing in its strategy, in legislation, quality recommendations, programmes and projects. The aim of the ageing policy is to promote older people's functional ability, independent living and active participation in society.

Read more:

The Act on Supporting the Functional Capacity of the Older Population and on Social and Health Care Services for Older Persons

The Act on Supporting the Functional Capacity of the Older Population and on Social and Health Care Services for Older Persons entered into force on 1 July 2013. Under the Act, older persons are entitled to receive social and health care services in accordance with their individual needs. Nevertheless, the person's age is not in itself a criterion to obtain services.
Act on Supporting the Functional Capacity of the Older Population and on Social and Health Services for Older Persons

The objective of the Act is to:

  • support the well-being, health, functional capacity and independent living of the ageing population
  • improve the opportunities of the older population to participate in the preparation of decisions influencing their living conditions and in planning the services they need in the municipality
  • improve the access of older people to high quality social and health care services in good time as well as improve their guidance to other available services on the grounds of their individual needs
  • strengthen older persons’ opportunities to influence the content and way of provision of the social and health care services provided for them.

Early identification and preventive measures of memory disorders

More than 14,500 people in Finland are diagnosed with a dementing disease every year. Such memory disorders do not only affect older people; estimate of the number of people among the working-age population who suffer from progressive memory disorders is 7,000.

Individuals with progressive memory disorders need and rely heavily on social welfare and health care services; for example, three out of four patients receiving 24-hour care have a memory disorder.

Actions are needed

  • to promote brain health
  • to prevent memory disorders
  • to detect memory problems as early as possible
  • to develop a system that ensures that treatment, rehabilitation and support are provided systematically and at the right time and that allows monitoring and follow-up.

Development of lifestyle guidance will be introduced throughout the country as part of the future health and social service centre programme. Finnish intervention study to prevent cognitive decline and disability (FINGER) showed that a multidomain lifestyle intervention is beneficial for prevention of cognitive decline. FINGER-model  based on the results of this study is now recommended in Finland.
Read more about FINGER-model at FINGER – research project web pages

Nationwide guidance and direction

The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) supervises and provides guidance and licences to social and health care service providers. Valvira guides the work of the Regional State Administrative Agencies (AVI) which are in charge of the implementation, execution and supervision of the legislation in their regions. These actions aim to ensure harmonised nationwide guidance and direction.

More information on the supervisory organizations:

Focus on home care

Prioritising home care is one of the leading objectives of developing older people services. The special task of Finnish municipalities is to support the health and well-being of their residents and enable their living at home.

Home care (Ageing web page)

Healthy Finland Survey

The Healthy Finland survey will provide up-to-date information on the health, well-being and service use of adults living in Finland, as well as on changes and future developments in these areas.
Healthy Finland Survey

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