On the 24th October, Eurocarers participated in the conference “Informal carers, key supports to elderly and weakened people” organized by the Belgian Foundation King Baudoin, aimed at presenting and discussing the results of two major pieces of research on informal carers.
“ The economic value of informal care range from 621 to 1189 euros per month”.
Sophis Cès and Jean Macq, from the Catholic University of Leuven (member of Eurocarers) presented the outcomes of a study commissioned to the University by the Foundation. Building on an extensive analysis of data, complemented by individual interviews, the researchers were able to give a detailed description of the tasks undertaken by informal carers in Belgium, of their corresponding economic value, and of the weaknesses associated with their situation as well as concrete vision of their needs. They articulate a series of policy recommendations including the need for informal carers to obtain formal recognition, for health professional to cooperate with them, the need to introduce more flexibility in working arrangements, to improve the accessibility of support services and respite care, as well as the need for evaluation of social and health individual needs, which are subject to rapid evolution. See more information on this study here.
Also discussed was a study conducted by Prof. Mark Elchardus from the Vreij Universiteit Brussels. His research based on data analysis and questionnaire highlighted the key role played by informal carers in preventing unwanted institutionalization of elderly people. He insisted on the need to alleviate administrative burden faced by informal carers, to invest in highly flexible at-home health care services, to develop information and to rely on volunteers. He insisted also on the need for working carers to benefit from a fix, regular working schedule that be changed if need be, however observing that our society is on the contrary evolving towards more flexibility of working arrangement to the benefit of the enterprises mainly.