Care for the elderly Questionnaire: The outdoor activity of the elderly did not increase during the Korona period, loneliness clearly became more common than before

Because group activities were canceled, outdoor activities were recommended for the elderly. However, according to a recent THL survey, outdoor mobility did not increase.

Geriatric outdoor activities have not increased during a corona pandemic, although outdoor activities have been recommended after group activities have been canceled.

The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) surveyed customer satisfaction with elderly services in a survey and found that outdoor opportunities had remained virtually unchanged from the survey five years ago.

For the survey more than half of the 24-hour care and home care clients who took part did not think they could go outside and a fifth did not go outside at all.

“The previous survey is not entirely proportional, but roughly the situation has remained the same,” says THL’s leading expert Sari Kehusmaa.

With other activities extensively run down during the pandemic, Kehusmaa would have expected an increase in outdoor activities.

Praise is of particular concern to the elderly living at home.

“Home care clients are usually in better physical condition, but have still experienced not being able to go outside enough. Their isolation from their homes is worrying from the point of view of maintaining functional capacity, ”says Kehusmaa.

Outdoor activities were no better than others in the high-staffing business units.

According to the Elderly Services Act, the staff dimension for 24-hour care must currently be 0.55 and the dimension must be increased to 0.7 employees per client by 2023. Currently, the goal is achieved in about one-fifth of the operating units.

“The opportunities for outdoor activities were not better, even though there are more staff in nursing,” says Kehusmaa.

THL: n researchers want to bring the observation that has emerged from the survey to the public debate.

“This year and next, staff in round-the-clock care will be increased. Customers should be consulted when thinking about where to increase their working hours, ”says Kehusmaa.

In his opinion, the reflection should take into account which functions the customers consider important.

Home care According to the survey, customers’ daily lives have become much more stimulating during a pandemic.

“When group activities and social contacts are run down and there are no opportunities for outdoor activities, everyday life looks monotonous. This has been a customer experience, ”says Kehusmaa.

As a researcher Kehusmaa is concerned about memory patients living in isolation.

“Stimuli and social contacts maintain memory functions. Once normal, cognitive skills may no longer be restored. That’s when it looks like the disease is progressing faster, ”he says.

Remote connections have not replaced face-to-face hobbies and recreation. Elderly services customers are mostly in poor condition and memory disorders are common in them, which limits the use of remote connections.

Restrictive measures, such as travel bans and the use of shelters, were shared by respondents. However, most considered them justified and did not consider them to be too restrictive of their lives.

The majority of respondents were happy with their lives and almost everyone’s sense of security remained despite the epidemic.

According to researchers, the maintenance of well-being reflects the high resilience of the elderly, ie the ability to tolerate adversity.

Loneliness was clearly more common among respondents compared to the previous survey. Now more than one in three had experienced loneliness, whereas in the past one in five felt lonely.

More than half said they met their loved ones during the Korona period less than they would have liked or not at all. 57% of home care clients and 33% of round-the-clock care clients had weekly meetings with close relatives.

The use of protective equipment made it difficult for half of the respondents to interact, at least to some extent. It was especially difficult for memory-impaired clients to identify caregivers and loved ones behind masks and protectors. On the other hand, it was even more difficult for those with hearing difficulties to understand speech.

Inquiry the scope is weakened by the low participation rate. 41% of the units invited to the study participated.

Of the customers of the units involved in the data collection, 22 per cent responded to the survey, ie a total of 7,440 elderly people. More than half responded with the assistance of a caregiver and completely independently to only one in five.

According to Kehusmaa, it seems that a nationally comprehensive customer survey requires legislation that is binding on business units. Voluntary participation may distort responses so that units with low customer satisfaction do not participate in the survey.

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