Background The first Estonian Safe Community (Rapla) was designated in 2004 and re-designated in 2009. The elderly have been one of the target groups of the programme since 2002. The main financier of the programme has been Estonian health insurance fund. Municipal social counsellors, social workers and representatives of associations of retired persons are in tight communication with elder people. Aims/objectives: to decrease the number of accidents and injuries among the elderly population. There are two critical aspects: (1) quality of life of people of age 65+ and (2) tremendous health care costs.
Methods Community based project/ interventions have been an option (1) to raise the awareness of elderly people and improve their health behaviour in terms of safety, (2) to improve environmental conditions elderly people live in, (3) to find support from local and state level regulations.
Results/Outcome We have used the local and state level statistics from Estonian health insurance fund. Unexpectedly, data show increased number of injuries among people of age 65+: from 103 : 1000 in 2006–2008 to 113 : 1000 in 2009 and 114 : 1000 in 2010. Although more cases of injuries have been reported among children, youth and working age population the health care costs for elderly have been 5 times higher than for children/youth and 3 times higher than for people of age 19–64.
Significance/Contribution to the Field Injury prevention and safety promotion among the elderly population is underestimated in Estonia. Results from Rapla programme indicate the need for the allocation of the relevant resources required for the well-tailored programmes for this age group.
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