Promoting brain health in Finland

Finnish population is ageing, and the number of people suffering from memory disorders is increasing.  Approximately 200,000 people have some form of cognitive decline and approximately 14,500 new cases of memory disorders are diagnosed each year.

In order to meet the increasing demand for services and costs, we need action to promote brain health, to prevent memory disorders and to identify memory problems as early as possible. Follow-up studies show that memory disorders could be prevented by a healthy life style. One aim of the Finnish social and health care policy is to promote health and functional capacity.

Elderly care act (980/2012) states that local authorities must draw up a plan on measures to support the wellbeing, health, functional capacity and independent living of the older population.   

Quality Recommendations by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities include as one area of recommendations for health promotion such as nutrition and physical exercises.


Current Care Guidelines contain e.g. guidelines for physical activity and exercise training for adults in sickness and in health, and for memory disorders


FINGERmodel, the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (2009–2024), focuses on a multi-disciplinary approach managing metabolic and vascular risk factors and providing comprehensive advice on healthy diet and exercise including brain training. The intervention consisted of regular meetings over two years with various health professionals.

The objectives are to find out if the intervention could prevent cognitive decline among older people, and what the effects are on disability, quality of life, depressive symptoms, use of health care services, and vascular risk factors.

The Finger model implementation will continue in social and healthcare reform.

Moreover, there is guidance and recommendations for physical activities and nutrition for older people and working-age population.