Both the increase in female labour force participation and the extended length of employment participation for both men and women contribute to fewer relatives being available to provide care. In light of these trends and the growing needs of ageing populations, meeting the demands of caregiving poses great challenges if state support is unavailable.
To discuss these challenges, Population Europe in collaboration with the Social Science
Centre Berlin (WZB), organised a High-Level Expert meeting of which COFACE Families Europe was part of. The experts discussed how governments could prepare and assist in supporting the older segments of the population requiring help. Following this conference, Population Europe published a policy brief highlighting three key messages.
- The gender pay gap and other risks linked to the devaluation of care work should be tackled by combating ageism; creating and enforcing a minimum standard of care provision; creating a professional qualification system and career pathways for professional carers; and by supporting community-based care with solutions that respect the dignity and identity of care receivers.
- Measures to support informal caregivers should allow them to receive and transfer pension contributions and provide them with an array of relief measures. Also, the choice to provide care and by whom to be cared by to both caretakers and caregivers should be secured.
- Care in old age should be a social responsibility framed as a human right, where a minimum standard of universal care is provided to everyone and quality controls are put in place.
Read the full publication here.