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The Finnish and the Estonian populations, as most European populations, may be described as rapidly ageing populations. As the share of the elderly population is expected to double by 2030, it may also be expected that the share of individuals with care needs will correspondingly increase.
The actual balance between different sources of help for elderly people varies among countries according to their tradition, culture and social policy systems. However, problems regarding elderly care are very similar in both countries. Ageing population in combination with economic constraints on the public sector, have put pressure on public eldercare during the last decades.
Family caregiving is one solution for the dilemma mentioned above. The cost for home care is much lower than institutional care, which makes this form of caregiving an attractive alternative for many municipalities in both countries. The quality of life depends to a great extent on where you live; at home or in an institution, and with whom you are sharing your daily life. Family caregivers offer elderly, handicapped or chronically ill individuals a higher quality of living, as they can enjoy being taken care of at home and by their nearest.
However, being a family caregiver is not an easy task. To be able to maintain family caregivers’ mental and physical health, they need external support both economically and socially. They need education, information, practical help and breaks from their daily work. The home care system needs to be developed to be able to answer future needs and demands. By doing our research and by creating our model, we do our best to improve and affect the home care system in Finland and Estonia.