Use and preference of social services from an elderly perspective

Social services are without a doubt an integral factor in the care for seniors in regard to social inclusion. The completed research survey focused not only on selected social services as defined by Act No. 108/2006 Coll., on social services, but also on other services that this law does not apply to. The importance of social services in connection with the ageing population is growing, and present interest in these services cannot be seen as insignificant, especially among older age groups of the elderly, who are becoming less self-sufficient and require support either from their surroundings or institutions. What social services are the elderly most interested in?

In May 2015, the Institute for Evaluations and Social Analyses (INESAN) completed a research survey dealing with selected aspects concerning care for the elderly in regard to social inclusion. The research survey focused on describing present living conditions of the target group and prerequisites for their successful inclusion. It also focused on attitudes and preferences concerning the method of inclusion and use of services. Quota sampling was used to select respondents and only people in a pre-elderly or elderly age, i.e. aged 55 to 84, were included in the studied sample; also, only people from areas with less than 5,000 inhabitants were included. A total of 651 interviews were carried out within the completed research survey.

The completed analysis of research survey results showed that the social services in question were used only by a very narrow group of elderly individuals (only 19%); however, a distinct increase in interest in selected services can also be observed. Social services that were used most often included treatment or aid in dealing with health problems together with the delivery of lunches; these services are used at present by 10% or 9% of elderly individuals respectively. At the same time, these services are the most preferred, as 45% and 38% of elderly individuals respectively expressed interest in them in the future. The third most commonly listed service was help in large-scale cleaning of the household, which is used by only 3% at present. Nonetheless, 30% of the elderly expressed interest in using this service in the future. Other services in question are used at present by a narrow group of respondents and the potential for their development does not exceed 25%.

Graph: Use of selected social services

The use and interest in social services is generally more evident among the older group of the elderly (ages 65 – 84), either due to their deteriorating health or economic situation. In this regard, the given social services have the greatest development potential for development among these elderly individuals and show the importance of implementing measures that will lead to the greater accessibility of these services.