Active older people are highly visible in Finland at all kinds of social and cultural events, and also in the great outdoors – often whizzing speedily by on skis or bicycles. The over-60 set already makes up 27 percent of the Finnish population, and their numbers are rising rapidly as the post-war baby-boom generation reaches retirement age. Finnish authorities are well aware that the future cost of caring for the country’s burgeoning ageing population represents a significant challenge. However, keeping older people physically active and socially involved can help offer a solution.
“Here in Finland our population is ageing faster than anywhere else in the world except Japan,” explains Eeva Päivärinta, a social and health services specialist from the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, where a recently completed two-year programme has focused on the need for services targeting senior citizens. “By 2030 it will be beyond the capacity of our economy to provide fully serviced old people’s homes in line with our traditional elderly care model, so we urgently need to find ways to offer effective online and home-based healthcare and other services for old people living at home.”
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