Informal Care Provision in Europe: Regulation and Profile of Providers

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03 November 2011

This report investigates regulations for the provision of informal care in 21 member states of the European Union. We focus on the comparison of public support for informal care, and compare in detail the monetary benefits that can be used to finance informal care. Additionally, we use SHARE data to compare characteristics of informal carers in a subset of countries, looking at how much care and what kind of care is being provided, and the relationship between the carer and the care recipient. Finally, we contrast characteristics of informal care provision with existing typologies of long-term care systems.
Our review shows that almost all the countries studied offer some kind of cash benefit that can be regarded as a support to finance long-term care provided by informal carers. More than half of all countries studied provide a payment directed to the recipient of care, and slightly more countries offer payments directed to informal carers. We find an overlap of ten countries where both informal carers and recipients of care can be eligible for some kind of payment. There is, however, broad variation regarding the amount of support provided: very few countries provide benefits that can be seen as a substitute for other paid employment, and some countries provide rather low payments that are more symbolic in value.
Monika Riedel and Markus Kraus are researchers at the Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) in Vienna.