29 October marks the first UN Day of Care and Support. On this occasion, many social NGOs have called for urgent measures to address underinvestment and staff shortages in long-term care. Care should be regarded as an investment into our lives, not a burden!
Across Europe, long-term care systems are under severe strain both from increased needs coming with demographic ageing, but also from years of austerity and unsustainable working conditions. A trend that is the consequence of the structural ageism ingrained in our institutions and societies.
Need for reshaping care
The COVID pandemic swept through unprepared care residencies, while care services at home or community-based care had been reduced. Three years later, and one year after the adoption of the EU Care Strategy, AGE continues to uphold that a change of paradigm is needed. Too often, persons in need of care have no choice in the care they receive, and informal carers have no choice to provide care for their loved ones, unpaid. If formal care is available, it is often expensive, pushing half of persons in need for care under the poverty line even with public support, and inadequate, taking away basic choices about one’s life from persons in need of care.
The person first!
The joint declaration of NGOs calls on Member States and the EU institutions to seize the moment for the transformation of the sector, to create a person-centred, community-based care and support system. Care and support should respect and promote the human rights and dignity of persons in need of care, their families and their carers, both formal and informal. By June 2024, Member States have to submit national measures to implement the EU Care Strategy. AGE will provide suggestions to national governments and the institutions on where to focus these national measures and assess them if they stand the test of the ambition and promise of the Care Strategy. AGE and the signatories also call for a European long-term care platform to coordinate the implementation of the EU Care Strategy and to monitor the investments made into long-term care via European funds.
Policy Manager on Social Protection and European Parliament