New Report on Long-Term Care Challenges in Europe

We are facing a rising life expectancy, making sustainable long-term care for an ageing population quite vital and in high demand, both at national and European level. Accordingly, the 18th principle of the European Pillar of Social Rights highlights the right to affordable and good quality long-term care services, especially home care and community-based services.

The European Social Policy Network (ESPN) has published a report on long-term care challenges for the elderly (65 or older) in Europe. ESPN’s report presents a comparative analysis of national long-term care systems in 35 European countries and identifies four main challenges:

  1. Access to and adequacy of long-term care provisions,
  2. The quality of these long-term care provisions, especially for home care situations,
  3. Employment of long-term carers, especially regarding the informal and gendered nature of the field, and
  4. Financial sustainability of long-term care.

Most European countries have difficulties with accessibility to and financing of long-term care systems primarily due to institutional and geographical fragmentation of long-term care provision. This obstacle remains an issue in improving the quality of these long-term care provisions as well.

In addition, the report highlights an increasing trend towards prioritising home care. However, home care and community-based care seems to be the most difficult type of long-term care to access across the 35 European countries, especially in countries deemed less derdeveloped.

Lastly, all 35 European countries analysed showed that there is a high incidence and expansion of informal care. This is due to the lack of accessible formal long-term care facilities, the poor quality and high cost of long-term care, and the traditional model of familial relations and gender roles. Women, especially migrant women, continue to carry out the bulk of care-giving tasks, which negatively impacts female labour market participation.

Ultimately, the report concludes with a series of recommendations – aimed both at the 35 countries and at the EU level – to overcome these challenges in long-term care.

Download the complete report here

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