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Senior Citizens​

  • Senior citizens in Iceland are given a pension by the state and, frequently, payments from a pension fund. The amount depends on how long they have lived in the country and their previous income.
  • Most elderly people live in their homes as long as they can (or their entire lives). ​
  • Many will receive support from their municipality (i.e., with cleaning, preparing meals, drug dosages, or help bathing) or they take advantage of leisure activities for senior citizens. ​
  • People will pay for a portion of the costs themselves. ​
  • Nursing homes are for senior citizens who are unable to live at home. The elderly will share in the cost of stay at the nursing home. ​
  • Nursing homes offer 24-hour care. Nursing homes employ orderlies, nurses, and physicians. ​
  • Certain health issues will accompany advancing age, for example:​
    • Anxiety and depression due to declining health and/or isolation and loneliness.​
    • Reduced appetite. Malnutrition and weaker immune system can follow.​
    • Various forms of memory impairment and dementia are common among the elderly. ​

The Common Cold

  • The common cold is a regular communicable disease during the winter months in Iceland.​
  • A runny nose, fever, and sore throat can accompany the common cold. ​
  • In Iceland, antibiotics are not prescribed for the early symptoms of the common cold. ​
  • It is recommended that people stay indoors, get plenty of rest, and take mild pain-killers and cough-suppressants, as needed (available without a prescription at pharmacies) ​
  • There is no need to fear the common cold - it is normally resolved in 1-2 weeks. ​
  • Of course, people should go to their local healthcare center if the common cold or other illnesses are not resolved after a short amount of time. ​

Mental Health

  • Mental illness and emotional problems can happen to anyone during their lifetime. They can be associated with difficult situations in our communication with others or in life. ​
  • Excessive stress and insecurity can lead to anxiety (even post-traumatic stress disorder) and can follow traumatic events such as illness, injuries, death, or experiences during wartime, or when escaping dangerous circumstances in one's homeland. ​
  • Many who live in Iceland will experience seasonal affective disorder during the darkest months of the year, during the height of winter. ​
  • In Iceland, people are generally empathetic to illnesses of this kind and it is considered normal to seek medical assistance and treatment for them. ​
  • Most people who migrate to another country will undergo a certain psychological process associated with the change. Initially, people will experience optimism and relief due to their new circumstances. But after a while, many will experience depression or negative thoughts. For most, this will gradually fade away as they achieve a more balanced emotional state. ​
  • Sometimes, mental distress and anxiety can manifest themselves in physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, or insomnia. ​
  • It's important to look at the big picture when searching for the root causes of pain and dysphoria. ​
  • It is good to be unafraid of letting people know how one is feeling, sharing one's experience and asking healthcare workers and therapists about possible reasons for one’s dysphoria and pain. ​
  • The healthcare center is the first place to visit when suffering from mental health problems. A general practitioner can prescribe anti-depressants, anxiolytics, and mood stabilizers and refer patients to a psychiatrist. Psychologists are also available within the healthcare system. ​
  • Mental health treatment teams are active both at the healthcare centers and certain service centers. They offer a variety of support, in several ways. ​
  • Landspítalinn's critical care ward for psychiatric illnesses is located on the first floor of the psychiatric ward at Hringbraut. It is open from 12:00 to 19:00 on weekdays, and from 13:00 to 17:00 on weekends and holidays. ​
  • It is also possible to go to the critical care unit at Landspítalinn in Fossvogur.​


  • Tobacco is the primary cause of cancer and other preventable diseases. ​
  • Smoking is the most dangerous form of tobacco use and up to half of long-term smokers will die because of it. ​
  • Chewing tobacco and snuff is also detrimental to the user's health. ​
  • Smoking and tobacco cessation assistance is available, including consultation, courses, and pharmaceutical products. And products at pharmacies (such as nicotine gum, nicotine patches and nicotine inhalers). ​
  • Children under 18 are not permitted to purchase or use tobacco products. ​
  • Excessive alcohol use can be a problem. People will often try to hide their alcohol use and stop of their own accord but have difficulties doing so. ​
  • Alcohol addiction is a treatable disease. ​
  • Detoxification and treatment for alcohol and drug addictions is managed at Vogur, which is run by the association SÁÁ.
  • Long-term treatments for both women and men are also available following a stay at Vogur. ​
  • The AA association has proven useful for many in weaning themselves off alcohol and/or drugs and maintaining sobriety.
  • The minimum age to buy alcoholic beverages is 20 years. ​
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs is accompanied by trouble and discomfort. Both with those who abuse alcohol/drugs, but even more so with friends and family. ​
  • Home life is often marked by anxiety, fear, isolation, arguments, and violence. ​
  • It is considered negligence if children must live with screaming and fighting at home due to the alcohol use of their parents/custodians. ​
  • Other associations operate in Iceland and are focused on supporting addicts in getting well and maintaining their wellbeing, as well as supporting the families and friends of addicts with a range of issues (i.e., food addiction, gambling addiction, codependency, alcoholic's next of kin).​
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