Coping and welfare of the elderly

People’s need for personal assistance grows as they grow older, which is why the elderly benefit, above all, from services that are provided in their home environment.

Open care and home care services

The objective is to help elderly people with reduced coping skills manage in their familiar surroundings, or home, independently, with the help of their family or services organised by a social worker.

Open and home care services are divided into:

  • services provided at home – customisation of homes, taking care of everyday needs, counselling, guidance, care, etc. Domestic nursing care is also developing;
  • services provided outside the home – possibilities for activities in day centres, etc.;
  • support services – specialised transport, technical aids, catering, sauna and laundry services.

Welfare services provided by local governments include the services of a personal assistant, support person, transportation for the disabled, customisation of homes, safe houses, shelters, municipal dwellings, foster care, social counselling, and care at home.

More information about these services can be obtained from the social workers of county governments, city governments or rural municipality governments.

Help from social welfare institutions

A social welfare institution is an institution that provides daytime or round-the-clock services to people who stay there. The guaranteed services are care, treatment if necessary, basic nursing care, education, and development.

In a daytime social welfare institution, the daytime care of persons staying in the institution supports the independent ability to cope of those persons or their family members.

24-hour social welfare institutions, or general care homes, are generally separate for children, the elderly, persons with a mental disorder, and other socially incapable persons. These institutions are for people who are not capable of living independently due to their special needs or social situation and if their ability to cope cannot be guaranteed by the provision of other social services or assistance.

Social welfare institutions may be state or local government authorities, or legal persons governed by public law or private law. If necessary, a rural municipality council or city council may establish mixed-care 24-hour social welfare institutions, where separate departments are provided for persons in need of different care.

In most cases, the person themselves or their family members or the person responsible for their livelihood as well as the local government have to pay for the care services of adults. Only the care expenses of persons who were settled in general care homes before 1 January 1993 are financed from the state budget.

Applying for a place in a social welfare institution

  1. If an elderly person, their family member, the person responsible for their livelihood or caregiver wishes to apply for a place in a care home, the respective care home or a local government social worker must be contacted, who will explain the circumstances, terms and conditions, and procedure of getting a place. If one wishes to apply for support from a local government to pay for a care home place, an application to that effect must be submitted to a social worker of that local government.
  2. Once a suitable social welfare institution has been found, the person receiving care (or their legal representative) shall enter into a contract with the head of the institution, in which the terms of living in the care home and the order of payment for the services are stipulated.
  3. If the local government of the client’s place of residence is also involved in paying for the client’s services, a tripartite financial agreement is concluded.
  4. When a person receiving care goes to a care home, a referral from the family or a medical specialist and other materials concerning the client’s health status are required.

In order to receive more information on admission to a care home, the services provided therein, and how to pay for them, contact a local government social worker or the respective care home.

Last amended: 18-06-2017 00:00 | Compiled by: Ministry of Social Affairs, eesti.ee