2020-12-19Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.25646/7916
How Many Older Informal Caregivers Are There in Europe? Comparison of Estimates of Their Prevalence from Three European Surveys
Informal caregivers are people providing some type of unpaid, ongoing assistance to a person with a chronic illness or disability. Long-term care measures and policies cannot take place without taking into account the quantitatively crucial role played by informal caregivers. We use the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS), the European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS), and the Study on Health and Ageing in Europe (SHARE) to measure the prevalence of informal caregivers in the European population, and analyze associated socio-demographic factors. This rate ranges between about 13 percent in Portugal and Spain, and more than 22 percent in Luxembourg, Belgium, and Denmark. It declines in older age groups and, on average, is lower in men than in women in all countries studied, and lower among the poorly educated compared to those with higher levels of education. However, large variance was observed in the average share of informal caregivers for most countries between the three surveys. Our findings, estimated through the three surveys, reveal common trends, but also a series of disparities. Additional research will be needed to enable policy makers to access a richer and more harmonized body of data, allowing them to adopt truly evidence-based and targeted policies and interventions in this field.