A survey commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs showed that seniors’ concerns included social transport, domestic and individual help, and care services. Interest in social and healthcare-related e-services was on the rise.

More than half of respondents said they would like their local government to stay in touch with them more. Only 5% of people over 50 said they had been contacted by a social care worker, and 13% said that they had contacted a social care worker themselves.

The survey brought out that only a fifth of the country’s elderly felt their local government paid enough attention to them, how they were getting by, and offered them a chance to take part in local social life.

Asked about specific services local governments could offer, the ones mentioned the most were domestic help (18% of respondents), social transport (17%), care services (8%) and personal help (8%).

The survey also indicated that there was interest in an emergency alert system as well as healthcare and social e-services. Among respondents, the group of 50 to 64-year-olds expressed particular interest in phone services as well.

A quarter of working-age seniors actively participated in caring for family. About half of them spent 20 or more hours a week taking care of relatives.

About 8700 people reduced their workload over the last few years because they had to take care of somebody. 3500 changed their job, and 4500 gave up their work entirely for the same reason.

The survey was carried out by TNS Emor and Praxis in 2015.

Due to lack of economic development, people have been leaving the Estonian countryside and moving to the country’s cities. A lot have emigrated altogether. The reorganization of public life outside Estonia’s main centers has led to fewer schools, reduced public services, the closing of banks’ branch offices, post offices, and the like.

The population remaining in rural areas is ageing, distances between small villages and towns great, and public transport sparse to non-existent, which is why a lot of the country’s seniors find they don’t have regular access even to minimal services.

Allikas: Seniors: Local governments should show interest and stay in touch more, ERR