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Promising community-based practices to postpone the need for institutional elderly care: A descriptive study of community developers in Estonia

Journal article
Authors Taimi Tulva
Jing Wu
Marju Medar
Zsolt Bugarszki
Koidu Saia
Kersti Kriisk
Jean-Pierre Wilken
Helen Tabur
Published in East-West Studies. Journal of Social Sciences of Tallinn University School of Governance, Law and Society
Volume 7
Pages 116–125
ISSN 1736-9541
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Pages 116–125
Language en
Keywords Community-based practice, empowerment, resilience, active ageing, social networks.
Subject categories Older people and ageing, Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


The proportion of elderly people in the society is constantly growing. The elderly who live alone form one of the most vulnerable groups in the society that is also at considerable risk for poverty and social isolation. According to the last population census in Estonia (2011), 39.3% of the elderly (65+) lived alone. The ageing of the population is accompanied by novel challenges, among them especially the coping of the elderly living alone. In 2015, the research team at the Tallinn University School of Governance, Law and Society conducted a study to map Estonian community-based practices that are available for the elderly (65+), especially for those who live alone at home, and the way these practices support interdependent coping and prevent the need for institutional care. This study, based on qualitative and quantitative data collected in Estonian communities, suggests that cooperation between Estonian local governments and communities should be more effective and involve regular interaction. Promising practices include developing network-based community support models and broadening communication possibilities.

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