This paper presents a discussion of some general conceptual and empirical issues of increasing importance for the analysis of the consequences of ageing: the potential trade-off between ensuring informal health care for the elderly and at the same time achieving an increase in the employment participation ratio for women. It first provides an overview of some general issues in health economics and then turns to some theoretical and empirical investigations of these issues.
The future of health care for the elderly is, as demonstrated above, a most important aspect of the prospects for health care in general. The policy issues, however, do not present themselves in the same manner for all member states. In fact, the forward path of old-age care will be greatly determined by the starting position with respect to the level of formal and informal care, the present state of affairs as far as female labour market participation is concerned and the existing patterns of financing of old-age care.