TOO OLD TO CARE: Reflection on the specificities of the ageing family carers population in the EU.
Principle 18 of the European Pillar of Social Rights stresses: the right to affordable long-term care services of good quality, in particular homecare and community-based services. Since its adoption in 2017, the European Union has been looking more intensively at the topic of Long-Term Care (LTC), most notably with the adoption in 2022 of the European Care Strategy and the Council Recommendation on Long-Term Care.
With the Recommendation, governments across the EU have agreed to present by June 2024 the measures they have taken to reform their LTC system to achieve the transition towards high quality, affordable and accessible care that will respect the rights and needs of the persons who draw on care and support services and of the carers, formal or family carers. As EU governments take a closer look at the shortcomings of their system, the COFACE Disability Platform calls on them to stop ignoring the question of family carers. In the EU, it is estimated that 80% of the LTC is provided by informal carers.
As the LTC Recommendation suggests, the first step to support these persons is to identify the family carers. In order to do so, it is crucial to realise that family carers are not a homogeneous block and consider that several factors need to be taken into account when proceeding to their identification, which then can influence what type of support is the most appropriate for their situation.
In this important time, the COFACE Disability Platform launched this thematic note to spark the debate on the diversity of family carers. While the lion’s share of family carers is currently of working age and need urgent actions to support them, including through strong work-life balance measures, around 10% of the carers are past the retirement age. While the need for recognition, support and formal care and support services can be extended to all family carers, it would be wrong to assume that there can be a single formatted answer for all.
In this thematic note, the COFACE Disability Platform explores one of the dynamics that should be considered when identifying and designing support measures for family carers: the age of the carers.
 European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairs, European Care Strategy for caregivers and care receivers, 2022.
 Council of the EU, Recommendation on affordable high-quality long-term care, 2022.