The role of family members caring for people with disabilities and older persons: the explosion of the phenomenon during the pandemic

This page is also available in

EGSZB-vélemény: The role of family members caring for people with disabilities and older persons: the explosion of the phenomenon during the pandemic

Key points

The EESC:

  • thinks that the COVID-19 pandemic has made indispensable to adopt structural measures in social policies and services to improve the living conditions of people who provide long-term care for relatives with disabilities and chronic and degenerative diseases;
  • emphasises the need to establish a common definition of the role and the situation of a family member providing long-term care for a relative and for further sociological studies and statistics;
  • believes that each measure in this field should be taken jointly by public policies, employers through social dialogue and family caregivers and the organisations representing them;
  • thinks it is essential to ensure to family caregivers adequate health protection services, including preventive healthcare, as well as specific training on how to look after their own health, housing support and home services with a particular focus on health and nursing needs, as well as psychological support for the caregiver and the family unit;
  • support scaling and adapting the right to alternative forms of remuneration for those who are forced to give up employment to provide long-term care for a family member;
  • calls for action to mitigate gender inequality among family caregivers;
  • calls for a European day to be established for family caregivers, aimed at raising awareness of the issue and encouraging appropriate support policies and measures;
  • considers crucial to provide people with disabilities with services that enable them to live independently outside their family unit of origin;
  • calls Member States to consider adopting financial measures to address the risk of impoverishment of family caregivers, being forced to give up paid employment, or reduce their working hours, in order to provide long-term care for their relatives;
  • calls for quality long-term assistance services to be encouraged in Member State policies;
  • calls for supporting those employers who promote flexible working arrangements and fringe benefits to family caregivers.