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Eurocarers Newsletter

Dear readers,

I hope you’ve had a good and relaxing summer and you are fully recharged for another intense period of activities! The first few weeks after the summer recess have proven very busy and productive for our network here in Brussels. We have had the chance to take a leading role in important international events, we took part in the remarkably interactive first meeting of the Carers’ parliament in Finland, we met with the cabinets of two EU Commissioners to discuss the role of informal carers in the framework of integrated and people-centred care systems and we convinced MEPs to vote in favour of the work-life balance report.

But more challenges remain and – more than ever – we will need to work collectively in order to reap the fruits of our advocacy work. The European Commission has just launched a second-stage consultation of EU social partners on work-life balance. Unsurprisingly, the consultation’s accompanying document – which summarises the learnings of the first phase - states that “social partners agree, largely, with the Commission's objective of improving women's labour market participation and the description of the challenges related to work-life balance and female employment. They however disagree on the case for further EU-level legislative action in the field - with the trade unions favourable to new measures and the employers against further action. Clearly, more convincing will be needed to shed light on the potential contribution of carer-friendly policy environments to the EU (female) employment and care objectives.

We will of course keep a close eye on this new consultation in the next few weeks and remain active in the debate concerning the establishment of an EU pillar of social rights, which also offers great potential for carers across the EU. Our programme of activities for the coming period will therefore include more prominent advocacy and networking initiatives. For example, Eurocarers will act as a strategic partner of the European Commission in the 2nd European Summit on Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing in December. Our capacity-building activities and communication tools will also be put to good use to draw the attention of relevant stakeholders to our key messages. We indeed foresee the launch of our online database of research and good practices on the Eurocarers website in the coming weeks and our Facebook account has been refurbished in order to maximize its impact – please feel free to like our page!  

As you can see, there are many challenges and opportunities ahead which need to be addressed strategically by Eurocarers and friends.

Stecy Yghemonos

Executive Director 



EU Policy Developments

A new start for parents and caregivers: Commission launches second-stage consultation of EU social partner organisations on work-life balance

  The European Commission has launched a second-stage consultation with social partner organisations at EU level. The aim of the consultation is to seek their views on how to reduce obstacles to women's participation in the labour market, by improving work-life balance and possibilities for women and men to make use of their rights more equally. 
Generally, the European Commission pushes for further EU-level action to effectively address women's underrepresentation in the labour market
ESPN Synthesis Report “Work-life balance measures for persons of working age with dependent relatives in Europe - A study of national policies"

In its 2016 Work Programme, the European Commission announced a ‘New Start’ initiative on work-life balance covering both legislative and non-legislative measures. The intention is to review the EU regulatory and policy landscape in this field with a view to better tackling the challenges of work-life balance for parents and people with caring responsibilities.

The European Parliament votes in favour of the Work-Life Balance report


On the 13th September 2016, the European Parliament gathered in plenary in Strasbourg voted the resolution " Creating labour market conditions favourable for work-life balance " (by 443 votes in favour, 123 against and 100 abstention).

The vote - which is a positive step towards the development of an EU wide initiative for work-life balance of people with caregiving responsibilities – follows the joint call for action sent by the 11 member organisations behind the 2014: Year of Reconciling Work and Family Life in Europe campaign (which includes Eurocarers) to all the MEPs . 

New Eurohealth, Special Gastein Issue on Demographics and Diversity in Europe 

This issue's Eurohealth addresses many topics covered in the 2016 European Health Forum Gastein on the topic 'Demographics and Diversity in Europe: New Solutions for Health'. Health leaders from the EU, WHO/Europe, Austria, Slovakia and other important institutions present their views and ideas. 

UN Resolution on the role of families to promote the rights of persons with disabilities


The UN Resolution on the ‘Protection of the family: role of the family in supporting the protection and promotion of human rights of persons with disabilities‘ was adopted on 27 June at the Human Rights Council.

The resolution highlights the role of families in supporting its members, including members with disabilities, and recognizes their potential in contributing to the protection and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities. 

Health for All and All for Health! How the EU is helping Member States optimise their health systems 

How can the Commission help make health systems more effective, resilient and accessible? It's a complex challenge – Member States have their own national healthcare systems – their own networks of people, institutions and resources working in the field of health – so how can the EU provide added value?

As outlined in its Communication in 2014 on health systems, the Commission promotes cooperation at EU level with a view to strengthen effectiveness, increase accessibility and improve resilience of the national health systems in the EU. 

A New revolutionary approach in the cohesion policy 2020: should we embrace an integrated urban care action strategy? 


Carers face a wide range of challenges, which will be exacerbated in the coming years due to demographic developments, the western concept of health and well-being, the evolution of science and the growing scarcity of available resources at local, regional and/or national level.

Citizens are the heart of cities and carers are citizens too! But they are special as they most of the time represent the interest of another more vulnerable, frail person with long-term health needs. 

Eurocarers takes part in 72nd European Forum Alpbach

On the 23rd August, Stecy Yghemonos represented Eurocarers at the European Forum Albach. The Forum is a non-profit association based in Vienna, Austria. Its main event is the self-titled interdisciplinary international conference which takes place in Alpbach, Austria, every summer. 

A total of 5,340 participants from 102 nations came together at this edition of Forum to discuss themes such as digitalisation and the future of EU care systems under the general topic of “New Enlightenment”. 

Eurocarers contributes to the annual conference of the European Forum for Primary Care (EFPC)


The 2016 EFPC conference in took place on the 4-6 September in Riga, Latvia on the topic “Crosscutting Informal Care and Professional Primary Care”.  Stecy Yghemonos was invited to give a keynote speech on the situation of informal carers across the EU and the significant role (to be) played by primary care professionals in the development of carer-friendly ecosystems. 

Eurocarers meets with DG EMPL and DG Santé’s cabinets regarding community care

On the 15th September 2016, Eurocarers met with representatives of the cabinets of Commissioner Thyssen (Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility) and Andrukaitis (Health & Food Safety) on the topic of community care in Europe.

The meeting was a follow up to the joint call for action sent to the two DGs back in December 2015 by Eurocarers, the European Forum for Primary Care, the European Social Network and Health First Europe. 


Research in Action

TRACK - Developing a training for informal carers: state of play

How to design an accessible training, likely to help concretely informal carers in their day-to-day responsibilities, notably when confronted with dementia? How to validate the multiple skills acquired through caring experience? How could the certification of these skills strengthen the position of informal carers on the labour market? Since September 2015, Eurocarers is actively involved in the Erasmus + project TRACK, which is developing responses to these questions.  


EC DG CNCT - 8 innovative solutions for independent living in an ageing society


The EU research website CORDIS has published a new results pack focusing on eight EU-funded projects that have developed new technologies and solutions to address the pressing challenges of caring for and assisting European citizens in a rapidly ageing society.

With each passing year, Europeans live longer. Although this is to be applauded, the demands for health, social and informal care services will continue to rise over the coming decades.

Sweden - Apps for Carers (A4C): a new EU-funded project on mobile services for carers

The potential of mobile applications (apps) in supporting carers of older people will be the core issue covered by the Apps for Carers (A4C) project, recently approved for funding by the European Union under the Erasmus + Programme and its Strategic Partnerships for Adult Education. The main idea behind the A4C project is to focus on a selection of mobile apps that can support carers in their role, with their inclusion in a new app acting as multilingual repository with additional information on their functions, scope and usage.


Update on ‘My Parkinson Disease (My PD) Journey’ 


On September 15th 2016, Eurocarers’ representative – Henk Bakkerode attended the sixth meeting of the European Steering Committee of the project ‘MY PD Journey’, chaired by Lizzie Graham. This was not the usual face-to-face meeting but a teleconference due to the lack funding. 

Here is the update of this project; the previous one dating back from March 1st 2016.

New European Commission project on Silver Economy 

Exploring the economic opportunities offered by activities and needs of older adults in Europe has become the focus of a new project conducted for the European Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology by a consortium of Technopolis Group, Oxford Economics and Cbased. The work will provide strategic information and data needed to establish a reference framework for the development of a Silver Economy Strategy for Europe, building on existing regional, national and industrial initiatives across Europe. 


eHealth projects - Research and Innovation in the field of ICT for Health and Wellbeing: an overview 


What have the best brains of Europe come up with to improve healthcare with the help of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)? The brochure below offers an overview of the most current (on-going or recently finished) European funded projects in the field of ICT for health and wellbeing ('eHealth').

The document lists projects focussing on specific diseases such as mental health, neurological disorders, stroke, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, incontinence, etc. 

EPYC project – empowering youth professionals to support young carers

This summer, the Eurocarers member organizations Care Alliance Ireland, Anziani e Non Solo Soc. Coop. and Carers Trust (Scotland) started work in the new European EPYC project – empowering youth professionals to support young carers. It is a Erasmus+ funded project with additional project partners in Germany (Diakonisches Werk Berlin Stadtmitte e.V.), Austria (Österreichisches Rotes Kreuz) and Italy (IPS Versari Macrelli). 


Events and Calls for proposals

EU budget and funding for regions and cities - a free open online course (MOOC)

In 2015, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) became the first EU body to develop and deliver a massive open online course (MOOC) on Europe's regions, the EU institutions and policy-making. Building on positive feedback received from participants, this pilot edition will be followed by a second course in 2016 with more specific content providing further insights into the EU budget and funding for regions and cities. 


Request for further feedback from attendees of the Eurocarers-AAL test platform - IronHand project


As part of the activities organized by Eurocarers in occasion of its Annual General Assembly 2016, our members and external stakeholders have participated in an interactive session –co-organised with the Central Management Unit of the Ambient Assisted Living Programme (AAL), where they have had the opportunity to test and provide feedback on a number of AAL solutions in the field of care, social inclusion and mobility. 

Among the presented solutions, was the IronHand Project.

Ageing & Society: Sixth International Conference

The 6th international conference on ageing and society, hosted in partnership between the National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later Life (NISAL) and Common Ground Publishing (USA) will be held on the 6-7 October 2016 at Linköping University in Norrköping, Sweden.

Conference themes: 


Save the date: 2nd European Summit on Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing 


Event date:  From 05/12/2016 to 07/12/2016
Venue: Brussels, Belgium
This Summit will look at how digital technology will transform the way we think about delivering health and care in Europe. Areas covered will range from health (medical treatment) to prevention and healthy lifestyles and other areas of the Silver Economy (Silver Tourism, Age Friendly Homes and Living Environments etc.). Participants will help to define a shared vision on how innovation can transform demographic change into an opportunity for Europe's ageing society and the Silver Economy.

2nd International Young Carers Conference - "Every Child has the Right to..."

The 2nd International Young Carers Conference will be held from 28-31 May 2017 in Malmö, Sweden and is co-hosted by Nka (Swedish Family Care Competence Centre) Linnaeus University, BarnsBeste (National Competence Network Norway), FORTE (Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare), the National Board of Health and Welfare in Sweden, the National Board of Social Services in Denmark in co-operation with Eurocarers, Region Skåne, Malmö City and Region Jönköping County. Eurocarers will co-host the conference, assist with the conference programme and promote the event widely via our communication tools and networking activities. 



News from the network

Belgium - Third edition of « The Informal carers’ week»

The third edition of the Informal Carers’ week in Wallonia will take place from the 3rd to the 9th October 2016. During that week, the associations and the services taking part in the event will propose activities addressed to informal carers. 

More than 60 activities are planned and informal carers will have the opportunity to take part in conferences, wellbeing sessions, cooking sessions, cine-debates, support groups…


Czech Republic - Eurocarers takes part in conference on family care at the end of life


More than a hundred people participated in the conference on family care at the end of life hosted by the Centre of support for family carers of the Czech Diaconia which took place on May 18, 2016 in Brno, the capital of South Moravian region, Czech Republic. 

Mrs. Hanneli Döhner, Vice-President of Eurocarers, was one of the panel of 13 speakers, which included medical doctors, politicians, chaplains, teachers, and researchers. 

Finland – 25th Anniversary of the Central Association of Carers and first meeting of the carers’ parliament

The Central Association of Carers in Finland celebrated its 25th anniversary by organising the first ever Carers Parliament in Finland. The idea came from Scotland where Carers Parliaments have been organised every year since 2012. In late August, some 170 delegates representing local carer associations from all over the country as well as 50 guests attended the Parliament’s meeting in Helsinki. Speakers included the former Speaker of the Finnish Parliament and the Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services together with ministry officials, who responded to carers’ questions. 


France – Association Française des Aidants launches its new website


After 13 years of existence, the organization of 120 ‘Carers Cafés’, numerous collaborations with 10,000 carers and 450 professionals, it was time for the Association Française des Aidants to upgrade its website to a more intuitive version, that would be closer to the expectations of 8.3 million carers.

The new website includes:
•    An interactive map to easily locate the closest Carers café, training session and health workshop;
•    Update information and thematic briefs relevant to carers;

Germany - wir pflegen holds a workshop on Young Carers

This workshop, organised by wir pflegen e.V.'s working group on Young Carers on the 22th June 2016 was a follow-up to the Eurocarers’ Workshop held in February 2016, also in Hamburg under the lead of the German carers’ organisation. The event consisted in an exchange between different member organisations of Eurocarers about good practices as well as policy and research deficits. In Germany, this topic is still much hidden and there is a need for more information about young carers, a better understanding of their situation and activities to support them.


Greece - Therapeutic intervention for caregivers “Listen to my story…”


Caregivers of people with dementia are experiencing a variety of feelings on a daily basis, which often remain unexpressed due to personal or environmental limitations. As a means of expression, art can provide a safe and fruitful platform to externalise one’s feelings and when used in groups, its benefits are multiplying. 

Based on this knowledge, the Department of Caregivers of Alzheimer Hellas in Thessaloniki has implemented, for the last two years, a very innovative therapeutic intervention with literature and poetry as basic tools

Ireland - Launch of the last ‘Family Carers’ Scorecard’ assessing progress of Ireland’s National Carers’ Strategy

Family Carers Ireland launched its ‘Family Carers’ Scorecard’ on July 13th, assessing what Ireland’s National Carers’ Strategy has achieved for family carers since its launch in July 2012. This is the third year-on-year scorecard published, and is based on an assessment of the government’s Third Progress Report on the Strategy covering September 2014 – September 2015.

Some areas where good progress has been achieved include:




Bulgaria – Carer’s voice: Interview with Petya Bancheva, Bulgarian Alzheimer Association

What’s your story? 
My name is Petya and my mother and I have taken care of my grandmother for almost 9 years. She passed away 5 months ago at the age of 89. She was diagnosed with dementia, suffered a stroke and, as a result, her brain could not receive and process information the way it should. At the end of her life she was pretty bad – she could not remember simple things, she was constantly angry and confused and could not take care of her basic needs. The illness changed her. Right before the end, she was not the person I used to know. It was hard for us and for her.




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