Quality of life in Europe
Eurobarometer survey, acceding and candidate countries, 2002
Health and care in an enlarged Europe
- Reducing workers’ care responsibilities or coordinating formal employment with informal care could improve productivity and the lives of carers.
- Enlargement will strengthen the model of family support in the EU in general.
- Results show a great degree of mutual support between the generations.
- More than 80% of the ACC and EU 15 citizens prefer social services which allow elderly people to remain in their own homes.
- Current caregivers advocate strengthening of family care responsibilities.
- Older citizens are willing to shoulder their part of the cost of care.
- The younger generation seems willing to take on care tasks.
- This high degree of intergeneration support places additional strain on economically active people.
- Reconciling employment with caring responsibilities and supporting informal care could improve employment rates and quality
With increased life expectancy and decreasing fertility, there is a growing gap between the number of elderly people who need care and the decreasing number of children and grandchildren. Nevertheless, the survey reveals high levels of informal care. About 25% of ACC respondents are engaged in some sort of regular care for others compared with around 21% in the EU 15. In ACC and southern EU 15 Member States, care is concentrated within the family system.
The level of support is almost as high among economically active people as among pensioners or the unemployed. This puts additional strain on caregivers as they try to reconcile employment with their care responsibilities. Those over 60 are more often caregivers in the ACC than in the EU 15, reflecting in part, the inadequacy of formal care facilities. The survey highlights the strength of family support: 80% of ACC citizens and 59% of EU citizens advocate extended family solidarity in the future. A majority of young people are also in favour of extending family responsibilities. People in the ACC do not support the idea of the elderly footing the care bill, while EU 15 citizens are more reluctant to see children pay and tend to favour state financing, i.e. shifting the burden to the taxpayer.
Related conference papers
- June 2004: Access to quality health and social care (PDF, 53KB)
- Read the synthesis report: Perceptions of living conditions in an enlarged Europe (résumé also available)
- See also the descriptive report of basic findings from the first European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS)