Assessing Policy Challenges and Strategies Supporting Informal Caregivers in the European Union

E. Wieczorek*, S. Evers, E. Kocot, C. Sowada, M. Pavlova

*Corresponding author for this work

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Cost containment and the preferences of older adults are important stimuli for encouraging the provision of informal care worldwide. Nevertheless, informal caregiving can have negative effects on caregiver's health, wellbeing, and employment opportunities. Moreover, it is questionable whether informal caregivers can substantially contribute to meeting the increasing demand for care or serve as a substitute for formally provided services. This commentary assesses strategies to remediate the negative effects of caregiving and ultimately to improve informal caregiving and to support their critical role in European long-term care systems. Cash benefits are a particularly common method of supporting informal caregivers; paid and unpaid leave, and flexible work arrangements are the most prevalent measures to support family caregivers within labor market policy, specifically. Providing training and counseling services to individuals engaged in informal care is a strategy used to support caregivers at home. Disparities in the level of support provided to informal caregivers across the European Union need to be addressed. A lack of supporting policies increases the likelihood that caregivers experience negative physical and psychosocial health problems, as well as unemployment and impoverishment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-160
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Aging & Social Policy
Issue number1
Early online date13 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2022


  • Informal care
  • informal caregivers
  • long-term care
  • older adults
  • Europe
  • social support
  • CARE
  • RISK


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