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SP0144 The wider impact of chronic diseases on family and society - from the carer’s perspective
  1. H. Döhner
  1. Eurocarers - European Association Working for Carers, Germany

Abstract

Eurocarers is a European association representing informal carers and their organisations, with the aim to advance their interests, irrespective of the particular age or health need of the person they are caring for. Carers are defined as persons who provide care (usually unpaid) to someone with a chronic illness, disability or other long lasting health or care need.

Informal care is the preferred option of care by most European citizens. Consequently family care is the main source of support and help for different needs - emotional, physical, organisational and financial. Newest research is reporting about ca. 100 million carers in the EU of today. Including the enlarged EU, estimations amount to some 125 million carers in Europe.

Although many carers talk about positive aspects of caring, most of them are more or less burdened, including objective and subjective elements. The amount of burden depends on different factors: e.g. the degree of dependency of the person cared-for, the appreciation felt, the received support, the possibility to combine care and paid work. Carers are in high risk to get ill themselves. If the dependent person has cognitive impairments, especially in case of dementia including behavioral problems, the burden is especially high. In these cases carers additionally have a high risk of social isolation.

More and more national carers organisations are on the way to bring the immense societal work of carers and the enormous economical value on the political agenda. The political awareness of the high amount of support families are giving to their relatives in need and the measures made available by professional offers varies a lot across Europe, with more formal support in Northern countries than in South and East Europe.

Eurocarers will help to make the situation more visible all over Europe and to push developments for a better quality of life for carers as a prerequisite for the wellbeing of the cared-for.

Disclosure of Interest None Declared

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