Why RECETAS in Helsinki?

It has been observed that residents in long-term care facilities (LTCF) in Helsinki do not get enough outdoors or into the nature and loneliness threaten residents’health, cognition and wellbeing:


experienced loneliness


feel that they have not been enough outdoors

Helsinki, with dark, chilly winters and light, pleasantly warm summer, is a place for nature experiences:

of Helsinki is made of diverse green spaces

are open to all!

How will nature-based and social activities be tested?

Older people experiencing loneliness will be recruited from local assisted living facilities. Those with mild-moderate cognitive impairment may also participate.
The recruited participants will be randomized into two groups :

The intervention group will be composed of 5-10 people who will meet once a week for about 1-3 hours. The intervention group will last 3 months. It will include nature experiences according to participant preferences, peer support, and discussions. Nature experiences may include excursions to parks and gardens, sharing experiences and discussions about meanings of nature, and virtual and art-based nature programs. Two professionals will facilitate group process according to “Circle of Friends” group model. Participants will be interviewed for their own expectations and wishes before the group starts.

The control group will continue usual care including outdoor recreation of their long-term care facility.

All participants will be thoroughly assessed for health, functioning, cognition, well-being and quality of life. The changes in the intervention and control groups will be compared, and the use of health and social services will be collected.

Circle of Friends®

In Finland, much experience of alleviating older people’s loneliness has been gained over 20 years through the Circle of Friends scheme organized by the Finnish Association for the Welfare of Older People. A number of Circle of Friends groups are annually organized in Helsinki. The Circle of Friends has been shown to improve health and well-being, and to decrease the use of health and social services by 30% of those participating in the Circle of Friends.
To learn more about The Circle of Friends, click here.

Local news

About Helsinki

Helsinki is the capital and the largest city in Finland. Founded in 1550, Helsinki came under Russian rule in 1809, before gaining its independence in 1917. The city lies in the far south of the country, on a peninsula on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. Helsinki is a vibrant seaside city with 327 beautiful islands and green urban areas. The annual temperature changes are important aspects of the climate and natural areas in Helsinki.

City population

656 920

Population density


City SDG index


Subjective well-being ranking

#1 (2020)

Average Temperature


Köppen classification

Warm Summer Continental Climate (Cfb)

Get in touch

Are you an organization based in Helsinki and dealing with these topics? Do you want to share your experience ? Are you interested in getting involved in RECETAS activities?
Contact us !

Kaisu Pitkala
Professor, MD, PhD, Research director

Anu Jansson
PhD, Director of Development and Participation
Research Coordinator, RECETAS Finland


Annika Kolster
Researcher, PhD student

Laura Rautiainen
Researcher, PhD student

Ulla Aalto
Nursing home doctor, Post-doc researcher

Timo Partonen
Professor, Researcher

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