Care Of The Elderly: How Approaches Differ Across Europe

Read about the different types of healthcare across Europe and how approaches to care compare in different countries. 

In the UK, we know that 18% of the populationis aged 65 or older. Figures like that aren’t actually uncommon across Europe, where similar percentages are appearing when it comes to older populations. Mostly this is because birth rates have fallen and people are living longer lives. Although the fact we are living longer as humans is a good thing and a sign of better health care and awareness, it does also cause some new problems across Europe. Mostly, the issues revolve around the lack of care available for the elderly, especially as the amount of those who are of an age where they are able to look after older people is getting lower all the time.

There is a shortage of care, and it is important to understand those challenges across Europe in order to understand how the approach to elderly care needs to change in order to ensure the quality of life of older generations now and in the future.

Spending On Care

Across Europe money from the state is spent on care of the elderly. In the UKit is expected that the country will need £2.8 million per year for the care of the over 65’s. In the Netherlands and Scandinavia the amount spent by the state on care is the highest in Europe, and the lowest in Eastern and the middle of Europe. The countries that spend the most on elderly care also have a widely developed system for their elderly population to avoid any crisis or lack of provisions whereas across the countries that spend the least, the onus on care is mainly on the families.

Families Caring For Their Elderly Loved Ones

In Eastern and Central Europe the families are often expected to care for their elderly loved ones. In the Mediterranean it is almost a certainty that an elderly relative who needs care will move in with their family. The problem with this system is that it used to rely on women staying at home caring for the children, and then caring for the elderly relatives as well. Now that women are chasing the careers they deserve, they increasingly leave the home, leaving fewer family members at home able to care for elderly relatives.

Support With Family Caregiving

There are provisions from the state in the UK for family caregivers, and a care assessmentcan be completed to get respite care or sometimes further domiciliary care funded by the NHS. Across the rest of Europe, in Germany caregivers can lower their working hours and they can get some pay for leaving to provide care for family members. Ireland and Czech Republic offer family caregivers some tax relief. Mostly though, many caregivers provide care without any support or help and often go unrecognised in society despite their huge dedication and sacrifice.

Live-in Care Could Help

Live-in care is thought to be an excellent solution to many issues with elderly care across Europe. In the UK, it could help with the NHS bed blocking problems and high cost of elderly care, it can also help support family caregivers in their caring role, and helps to take the pressure off care homes when it comes to providing elderly care. For those needing care, live-in care can enable them to remain in their own home, remain with their partner if they have one, with their pets, in the place they love the most. Take a The Live-in Care Hub (www.liveincarehub.co.uk) for more information about live-in care to see if it could benefit you.

Author: Robin Gupta