Eurocarers in collaboration with the Italian Institute of Health and Science on Ageing (IRCCS-INRCA), and with the support of the European Commission, carried out an online survey targeted at the informal carers of older, frail or disabled people across Europe regarding their experience during the COVID-19 crisis. They have now published a report on their survey, analysing 2,500 questionnaires completed by informal carers in 16 countries.
The study found that:
- More than 10% of respondents started to provide care as a result of the pandemic;
- 14.5% of carers and 14% of care recipients have been infected by the COVID-19 coronavirus;
- COVID-19 negatively impacted on the following aspects of the carer’s life: social network/participation (78.7%); quality of life (76.8%); mental health/psychological state of mind (66.5%); access to health/social services for the care recipient (59.8%); and care recipient’s health status (54%); the impact of the pandemic was more severe for women than for men;
- The average number of weekly hours of informal care provided has increased from 46.6 before the pandemic to 54.5 (+17%), with women experiencing a higher increase than men;
- During the pandemic, informal carers, and especially women, have had to intensify their caregiving activities, in particular their emotional support (60.3%), remote communication (49.7%), practical help in person (43.9%), care coordination and support (43.7%) and help with transportation (37.7%). This took place in the context of reduced support from health and social services and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak (e.g. social isolation, containment measures, etc.);
- A huge majority of carers (90.6%) are concerned by the consequences of COVID-19 on their caring role and on their personal and caring circumstances (e.g. what would happen to the care recipient should they have to self-isolate or be infected by COVID-19?);
- Most carers (61.7%) feel overwhelmed as a result of the pandemic and just about half of them (51.5%) feel “able to look after their own health and wellbeing”;
- Only 17.5% of informal carers feel that their caregiving during the COVID-19 crisis has been well valued by society, just like the one of healthcare workers;
- About 30% of carers providing care to an older person report witnessing occasional or regular instances of ageism towards the care recipient by social and/or health care providers.
The full report is available here:
Eurocarers/IRCCS-INRCA (2021). Impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on informal carers across Europe – Final report. Brussels/Ancona. https://eurocarers.org/publications/impact-of-the-covid-19-outbreak-on-informal-carers-across-europe/Covid-infographics_no-BG