12 Apr 2012

Projections of Use and Supply of Long-Term Care in Europe

Policy Implications

Joanna Geerts / Agnieszka Sowa / Erika Schultz / Esther Mot / Andreas Goltz / Jérôme Wittwer / Adelina Comas-Herrera / Derek King / Linda Pickard / Peter Willemé / Raquel Vegas

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Projections of use and supply of formal and informal care carried out in Work Package 6 of the ANCIEN project show that if current patterns of care use and supply prevail, supply of care is likely to fall behind demand. This paper discusses the key policy implications of these findings. Meeting the required care capacity poses multifarious challenges for European welfare states, namely: how to limit the growing burden of LTC expenditure on social security or government budgets, especially in countries that rely heavily on formal care, and how to avoid an increased informal caregiver burden, while at the same time ensuring adequate care for disabled older persons. Technological advances could help close the care gap, by reducing the need for care and boosting the productivity of formal and informal care workers, or by lessening the need for care. As it is impossible to assess whether these efficiency gains will suffice to bridge the care gap, policies should anticipate an increasing care burden and plan accordingly for how to deal with its consequences.