Picture of informal care

Picture of informal care
pdf, 55kB
Alice de Boer (red.)
Publication date
15 September 2005
informal care, volunteer aid

Original title: Kijk op informele zorg.

Many people assume that the giving of informal care to the sick and disabled is in decline. This is blamed among other things on the growing labour participation of women. In reality, however, this assumption is incorrect: the percentage of people providing care to needy relatives and friends has remained unchanged in the last 15 years.

There is also a misconception that one child within a family generally takes on the care for needy parents. In reality, however, in many cases there is a division of tasks and cooperation between the children. The idea that informal carers live near to the care recipient is also exaggerated: half of all informal carers live more than a quarter of an hour travelling time away. A very large number of people provide informal care, including people in work, and even where this means they have to travel or coordinate their activities with other caregivers.

Yet the conclusion of this report is not that all is well with informal care: a substantial group of caregivers are already overburdened. Government policy needs to focus above all on supporting vulnerable carers, such as those who are having to provide the care entirely alone or who face relatively high travel costs. Care recipients without relatives in the neighbourhood also deserve extra attention, because they are less easily able to access informal care.

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