Services that support lifestyle changes and promote health are important to the residents

Published: 31.1.2022 10.09Updated: 25.2.2022 10.49

In November–December, we asked the residents of Western Uusimaa to share their views about services that support lifestyle changes and health. The survey was a part of the pilot for the FINGER (Finnish geriatric intervention study to prevent cognitive impairment and disability) operating model based on lifestyle intervention. The pilot was implemented at Tapiola Health Station, Espoo, in autumn 2021. The survey received responses from 92 residents of ten Western Uusimaa municipalities.

Almost all respondents (99%) considered that services that promote health are very or somewhat important in addition to other healthcare services. However, accessing or finding these services was difficult. The prolonged pandemic affects service availability, but there is room for improvement even in the organisation of the services.

“Easily accessible guidance services, peer support and human interaction are particularly important now that people may have to wait for a longer time to receive care,” says project manager Sanna Rosendahl.

Wishes include e-services and expert support

The services use digital channels increasingly often. A majority of the respondents (90%) would prefer to fill in questionnaires regarding their health or preliminary information in an electronic formal.

As for lifestyle guidance, the respondents would like to see encouragement and motivation, help with creating a goal and a plan, and long-term monitoring of changes. Instead of links and independent reading, the respondents would like to have an expert with them on their journey and receive professional guidance, not forgetting humour.

“As for the initial visit for a lifestyle change, the respondents would like to receive comprehensive guidance that could be arranged at a conventional appointment or a digital appointment. After this, the guidance and monitoring could be done through online coaching, for example, but we should also offer options for those customers for whom online services are not suitable,” Rosendahl says.

Exercise, nutrition and interaction skills

The respondents and their close relatives would like to receive guidance and instruction on starting physical exercise (53%) and nutritional guidance (52%). In addition to these, they would also like to receive guidance on controlling the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (more than a third), practising cognitive functions and social interaction (one fifth). Some also considered peer support during the change process to be important, as a part of group exercises, for example.

Overall health promotion will be a focus in the future

The respondents would like the services that support lifestyle changes to have sufficient resources, a professional and comprehensive approach to customers, and sufficiently long-term monitoring. For example, regular health check-ups done by adult or senior health clinics were seen as important. The respondents hoped that illnesses could truly be prevented and that the focus would not be on treating illnesses that had already set on. Even after falling ill, people should have access to lifestyle guidance.

“Services that promote health and support lifestyle changes should be an essential part of the wellbeing services counties’ operations for all age groups. For this purpose, we should also develop our cooperation with educational institutions, organisations, clubs and associations. We don’t need to do everything by ourselves,” Rosendahl states.

Services that support lifestyle changes require smooth service paths, as was observed in the FINGER pilot in the autumn. Shifting the focus of the services to preventive services, such as support for lifestyle changes, is also a goal of the national Future Health and Social Services Centres programme.

Enquiries: Sanna Rosendahl, Project Manager,


  • Wellbeing Services County