Until recently, informal care (provided by relatives and friends) has been overlooked by policy-makers in the context of long-term care for dependent older people. Driven by concerns about the fiscal sustainability of long-term care services and by more self-conscious and demanding carers' movements across countries, informal care has been brought into the limelight.
Data on carers is still relatively scarce due in part to the nature of the care itself as it is often provided informally at home. In view of this, what do we know about informal carers and who benefits from them? Which country differences exist? Which policies are set in place to support them? This Policy brief tries to shed light on these issues by using available data from (inter)national sources as well as qualitative information gathered in our recent publication 'Facts and Figures on Long-term Care -- Europe and North America'. It seeks to increase knowledge on informal carers and discuss some of the implications surrounding social policies that impact them. The analysis is very much policy-oriented and takes a comparative view, focusing mostly on the wider Europe.
Updated Policy brief (18th May 2010)