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Services for supporting family carers of elderly people in europe : characteristics, coverage and usage (EUROFAMCARE)

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Studies of family carers of older people

EUROFAMCARE aimed to provide a review of the situation facing family carers of elderly people. Research was used from six European countries and results given for both national and European level.

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EUROFAMCARE has provided a European-wide review of the situation of family carers of elderly people (65+) in relation to the existence, availability, use and acceptability of supporting services. Six European countries and the WHO Europe formed a core group, who, along with a further 17 European countries, produced a background report. This showed the state of family carers and support services. Data from 1,000 care situations in each of the six core group countries, representing the different types of welfare state in Europe, was collected and analysed. The results at a national level have been transposed into six National Survey Reports (NASUREs). Those comparing cross-national differences and commonalities have been brought together in the Trans-European Report (TEUSURE). The national samples showed both the profile of the older people cared for and their carers in terms of socio-demographics, employment status, financial circumstances, caring situation, health and quality of life. A socio-economic evaluation on the basis of the national surveys and the pan-European background information was used to calculate the economic consequences from individual quality of life to European-wide politico-economic implications. Interviews were also carried out on 250 service providers from the core group, using qualitative content analysis to structure and cluster the experience, attitudes and opinions outlined by the interviewees. EUROFAMCARE has helped promote social policies that will benefit family carers of the elderly. This will assist politicians and decision-makers throughout Europe to understand the critical importance of supporting family carers as well as improving their situation and increasing available support measures. The in-depth knowledge derived from the participating countries covers different welfare and socio-economic systems. Other countries can use this information to target support; identify which family carers are most in need; determine what types of support and services are lacking and clarify how to create more user-oriented services.

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