EU SOCIAL PILLAR
18. Long-term care
"Everyone has the right to affordable long-term care services of good quality, in particular home-care and community-based services".
In September 2022, the European Commission presented a European strategy on long-term care. It is a question of giving a common minimum standard to all Member States, to ensure that citizens have long-term care.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of having robust formal care services to ensure continuity of care. It has exposed the pre-existing structural weaknesses of care systems and put a magnifying glass on the need to improve the resilience of these systems. Quality care services have clear benefits for all ages, and it is particularly crucial for the well-being of care receivers and caregivers, women's participation in the labor market, and the achievement of work-life balance. Despite the clear benefits of high-quality care services, for many people, they are still not affordable, available, or accessible. Inadequate care services have a disproportionate impact on women, and this affects their work-life balance and options to take on paid work. Good working conditions in the care sector are vital to the resilience and attractiveness of the sector and for gender equality. Investment in care services helps more women to join the labor market and yields more revenues for public budgets. The strategy to improve the situation for both carers and care receivers calls for boosting access to quality, affordable, and accessible care services and improving working conditions and work-life balance for carers.
The Joint Report
In 2021, the European Commission and the Social Protection Committee presented a Joint Report on Long-Term Care.
Before, the Social Platform provided its contribution.
This is the most comprehensive overview to date of a policy area whose growing importance for all societies can no longer be overlooked.
The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the long-standing challenges of ensuring accessible, affordable and quality care, backed up by sufficient and skilled work force and financing.
It highlighted the critical importance of long- term care systems in ensuring the well-being of people in need, preserving their dignity and access to care services, while also contributing to social cohesion and solidarity.
It further reveals gaps in social protection coverage for long-term care and the impact these could have on the living standards of older people. While quality of long-term care is a common aspiration, the report reveals a diversity of approaches to defining and measuring quality.
Despite significant job creation potential in the sector, staff shortages are quite common, also because of difficult working conditions. Finally, the report analyses long-term care financing and how it would evolve in the future, while also taking stock of the hidden costs of informal care.
The findings will provide a valuable source of evidence and inspiration to prepare the EU initiative on long-term care, announced in the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan.
Together with the parallel report on pension adequacy, the 2021 Long-Term Care Report offers a unique overview of social protection for older people in our ageing societies.
The hope of this report was also inspire policy makers and stakeholders at all levels engaged in systemic reforms and investments in long-term care and its workforce to ensure the well-being of all those in need of care and a vibrant care economy and society.
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