Who will be caring for Europe's dependent elders in 2030?

By Joëlle Gaymu, Peter Ekamper, Gijs Beets, Catriona Dutreuilh


This article presents demographic projections of the living arrangements of older adults up to 2030 in nine European countries. They are based on country data collected as part of the Felicie project. The aim is to describe how changes in the sociodemographic characteristics of older people (marital situation, health status, existence of surviving children) will affect their living arrangements and thereby modify the form and intensity of their care needs. The results show that over the next 25 years, whatever the overall health trends, the supply of potential family carers, i.e. partners and offspring, will increase and that populations with the greatest need of professional assistance – persons living alone with no available family members or those liable to enter an institution – will grow more slowly than the dependent population in general. However, the ageing of this population, the growing number of elderly men with a dependent spouse and the greater longevity of couples in which both members have disabilities, all point to rapid growth in demand for professional assistance in years to come. These results indicate that policies for managing dependence will need to focus on support for family carers.

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