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The indirect costs of long-term care, Research Note 8/2013

Informal care remains the most important source of care for dependent older people, although there are strong country differences across Europe. Most informal carers are either of working age (mostly daughters or daughters-in-law) or older people themselves providing care to their dependent spouses. From the public budget perspective, informal care is often seen as a cost-effective way of providing care. This vision, however, fails to acknowledge the indirect costs of informal care, namely forgone employment or health for informal carers. The research note presented here provides an overview of existing research into the effects of caring on the employment and health of carers, and into the benefits already available to carers in Europe. These include care services, cash benefits and leave for carers. Based on data from the European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) and the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), a profile of current working-age and older informal carers is provided, specifically their gender and age distribution. Using bivariate and multivariate analysis, the impact of caring on employment (using EQLS) and health (using SHARE) is analysed and policy implications are discussed. The research note also draws on multiple studies and data sources to provide a profile of migrant carers across Europe, with a special emphasis on those providing care at home and/or employed by private households.

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European Commission
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