What are the issues at stake?
Europe’s overall increase in life expectancy and ageing demographic generate a growing incidence of age-related diseases and demand for care. In Europe, 80% of all care is provided by informal carers – i.e. people who provide unpaid care to someone with a chronic illness, disability or other long-lasting health or care need, outside of a professional or formal framework. The contribution of these carers constitutes a great resource for our society but their role is not always recognised. Delivering a wide range of support services such as personal care, housekeeping, transportation, care and financial management as well as emotional support, carers often offer the most comprehensive and desirable option for people in need of care.
Caring for a loved one can be a source of great personal satisfaction but it does create its own set of challenges. These can include physical and mental health problems, a feeling of isolation, difficulty in balancing paid work with care responsibilities, perhaps even financial worries as social provisions are cut back. Advances in medicine also mean that carers find themselves having to deliver more and more sophisticated levels of care, with very little training and minimal support.
Eurocarers brings together carers' organisations as well as relevant universities & research institutes – a unique combination that enables evidence-based advocacy. Our network works to ensure that care is valued and unpaid care is recognised as central to the sustainability of health and long term care systems. We believe that carers’ know-how and needs are worth listening to and people should have the right to choose freely whether they want to be a carer, and to what extent they want to be involved in caring. Our aim is therefore to act as a voice for informal carers, irrespective of their age or the particular health need of the person they are caring for by:
- Documenting and raising awareness about the significant contribution made by carers to health and social care systems and the economy as a whole, and of the need to safeguard this contribution;
- Ensuring that EU and national policies take account of carers, i.e. promote their social inclusion, the development of support services, enable them to remain active in paid employment and maintain a social life.
We call for the development of an ambitious and comprehensive EU-level initiative that would address the various challenges facing carers throughout Europe by encouraging member states to recognise and support their significant contribution to care systems and society as a whole. A description of our vision for such an initiative is summarised in the document 'Enabling Carers to Care'.
For more information about our activities, please doxnload our Annual Report 2015-2016
Due to demographic factors and developments in medical care and social support an increasing number of people require long term care.
Approximately 80% of this care is provided by spouses,…
John Dunne | President
Currently (since 2011) Chief Executive of The Carers Association, Ireland’s national voluntary organisation for and of carers in…
Eurocarers recognise that there are common interests between Eurocarers and some companies, to address the needs of carers and cared for persons and safeguard their interests in receiving good quality…