FINNISH DISABLED WAR VETERANS IN SWEDEN
member of the disabled war veteran´s association of Finland
BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT DISABLED WAR VETERANS, THE DISABLED WAR VETERANS’ ASSOCIATION OF FINLAND AND FINNISH DISABLED WAR VETERANS IN SWEDEN
The organisation and its members
The Disabled War Veterans’ Association of Finland was established on 18 August 1940 as a joint voluntary association for the care and fraternal support of disabled war veterans. Of the approximately 95,000 war veterans who were permanently disabled in our wars of 1939-1945, about 3 500 are still alive today and their average age is 93 years (in year 2015). The Association also takes care of disabled war veterans’ spouses and widows. The ranks of disabled war veterans will thin out significantly in the years immediately ahead. The annual death rate is 15-20%.
In Sweden there are still about 100 disabled war veterans from the wars of 1939-1945 (Winter war, War of continuation and Lapland war). They who today live in Sweden are mainly from Finland, but also Swedish and Estonian volunteer corps.
The average degree of disability among the veterans is about 30%. Those with a 50-100% degree of disability are considered the most seriously disabled; they number around 1,500. Nearly 100 war veterans with extreme disabilities (a 100% degree of disability) are still alive, including those who were blinded in the wars, double amputees, those with spinal injuries, certain cases of multiple disability as well as several with bronchial, cardiac and rheumatism problems. Disabled veterans still feel the sufferings of war in their daily lives.
Institutions for treatment and rehabilitation, nursing homes
Together with its member associations, the Association has been setting up institutions for treatment and rehabilitation since the 1940s. Their activities and administrative systems have been arranged in accordance with the changing needs of disabled war veterans. The Association’s convalescent and nursing homes as well as rehabilitation hospitals for war veterans have a total of more than 1,600 places.
The association’s mission
Some of the Association’s most important tasks are to improve statutory treatment and compensation cover as well as to ensure the continuity of counselling services. Municipally provided outpatient care services are free of charge for war veterans with at least a 15% degree of disability. The degree of disability for long-term free-of-charge care is 20 %. In future, the limits set for the degree of disability should be lowered further as soon as possible. With the average age of disabled war veterans being 93, the goal of all the Association’s activities is to safeguard the veterans’ interests in their old age.
The Association’s divisions are able to accept spouses and widows as members. There are about 20,000 spouses and widows still alive today, over 14,000 of whom have become spouse members. The principle behind spouse membership is the need to care for spouses and widows who have often taken care of disabled war veterans for decades. The most important support offered to them will be counselling regarding their statutory rights. Increasing rehabilitation opportunities for war veterans’ spouses and widows is one of the Association’s principal goals.
In Sweden there are about 150 spouses and widows still alive today.