A man is eating by the table. Illustration image.

Satisfaction high with disability services’ assisted housing – residents want independent living with necessary support

The majority of the City of Helsinki’s disability services’ assisted housing clients are satisfied with the service they receive. Client satisfaction is increased by factors pertaining to appropriate help and support, promotion of residents’ independence and their sense of safety, in particular, reveals a survey and interviews carried out amongst assisted housing clients.

Clients of assisted housing services want to live as independently as possible, and the assisted housing services are responding to this need. The clients feel that assisted housing allows them more responsibility and power to make decisions than living in a group home or with parents. Assisted housing provides the residents with the help, support and safety in things that they are unable to handle independently, such as cleaning, cooking and relationships.

For the most part, the clients are also satisfied with the instructors and the guidance, and familiar, experienced instructors are particularly important to them. Conversely, clients feel that building communication with new and constantly changing instructors is somewhat difficult. Furthermore, they would like the instructors to take a more active role when it comes to leisure activities, and more specifically they would like the instructors to help them find suitable activities and register for them more actively.

Some of the interviewees and survey respondents occasionally feel lonely. A total of 13% of the survey respondents said that they have no friends or acquaintances, and 8% feel lonely daily or weekly. The interviews indicated that people are often able to realise that they are lonely, but they do not always have the ability or the capacity to change things.

According to the survey respondents and interviewees, assisted housing suits their needs for the most part. Many would like to continue to receive the assisted housing service for a long period of time.

Approximately 340 people live in assisted housing units provided by Helsinki’s services for the disabled. The assistance to the residents is provided by assisted housing instructors, group home instructors and social instructors. Support is available for individuals living in a private home, a group home flat or a home group flat.

The client survey amongst assisted housing residents was carried out in December 2019 and the interviews took place in November 2020. A total of 64 clients responded to the survey and six clients took part in the more in-depth interviews. The survey was conducted by university trainee Cia-Carola Jäntti. The interviews were carried out by university trainee Minttu Engberg and sexual health advisor Kirsi-Maria Örö from the outpatient clinic for the intellectually disabled.

Photo: City of Helsinki, Social services and health care