Hei Suomesta! (Hello from Finland!): Crowd sourcing my interview questions

Primary Source: Amanda Toler Woodward

Okay, I’m not physically in Finland yet, but mentally . . . ? tampere

I’m looking forward to my time in Tampere. In particular, I’m excited to:

  • Participate in the Tampere University of Applied Sciences Social Science International Week;
  • Practice my Finnish (friend, colleagues, family – please speak to me in Finnish as much as you can stand it);
  • Learn about elder care in Finland.

As a reminder, I am comparing elder care in Finland, Estonia, Romania (a new addition!), and the United States.  My questions and focus have evolved over the semester. (Reading and thinking and talking to people does that). I’m still interested in workforce issues and how each country is preparing for the impending shortage in health care and social service professionals prepared to work with older adults. But, much of that information I can gather from existing sources.

The added value of talking to actual people is that I can learn about their experiences on the ground. So in each country I want to talk to service providers, older adults, and informal caregivers about their experiences with elder care. Why? There is evidence that different health care and social service systems lead to different population-level results.  But what about the lived experience of those receiving those services? Do older adults, caregivers, and service providers have a different experience in Finland than they do in the United States? And, if yes, what are those differences and where do they come from?

I don’t expect to answer these questions over the next seven weeks, but I hope to talk to as many people as possible to get the ball rolling.

Here’s where the crowd sourcing part comes in.

First, if you know someone in Finland I should talk to – who works in elder care, an older adult receiving care, a family member or friend helping an older adult – let me know (in other countries too, but I may not get to them this time around). I will ask an hour of their time tops, with the actual interview lasting 30-40 minutes.

Second, if you could ask them anything you wanted, what would you ask about their experience? Here are my initial questions. All you thoughtful, curious readers, feel free to edit, delete, add, or otherwise share your thoughts.

For Service Providers:

  1. Please describe the structure and services of this office.
  2. Please describe your role as a [position title] within this office.
  3. What is your background? [education, pathway to this position]
  4. Please describe a typical day (or yesterday or one day last week). Who did you see? How many did you see? What did you do with them?
  5. Please describe the structure of elder care in Finland/Tampere, particularly as it relates to what you do. (How are clients referred? How are services paid for? What happens when someone can’t pay?)
  6. What is the hardest thing about your job?
  7. What is the best thing about your job?
  8. Anything else you would like to share?

For clients/caregivers:

  1. What types of services are you receiving currently?
  2. What led you to seek help?
  3. When was the last time you received services?
  4. Please describe the experience for me? (Interaction with service providers. Ease of making appointments, wait times, paying for services, getting there.)
  5. What do you like about the services you receive?
  6. What has been most challenging?
  7. Anything else you would like to share?

Post your suggestions below.

Thank you to the American Scandinavian Foundation for supporting this research.

The following two tabs change content below.
Amanda Toler Woodward
Amanda Toler Woodward is an associate professor in the MSU School of Social Work. Her goal is to share reflections on a wide range of topics related to aging research, social work, academia, and whatever else catches her fancy.
Amanda Toler Woodward

Latest posts by Amanda Toler Woodward (see all)