On January 27, 2021, the European Commission presented a Green Paper on ageing, highlighting the impact and issues of current demographic trends on our economic, health, and social care systems.
Whilst ageing is too often considered through an economic prism, the Covid-19 pandemic has underlined the need to develop a more human-centred approach to the long-term care of Europe’s ageing population. In fact, risks and uncertainties about the virus have threatened the equal enjoyment of human rights by older persons and sometimes led to their discrimination. Emergency measures such as lockdowns have increased social isolation or loneliness and curtailed their access to social and health care services. In particular, the crisis has highlighted the necessity to address major issues related to long-term care, namely the low quality of services, the limited access, and unaffordability of services, which are compounded by low public investments.
At the same time, the 9,5 million personal and household services (PHS) workers2(EU 28) have shown their crucial role during the crisis by providing much-needed relief from isolation and performing high-quality, essential care services.
We believe that the recognition and support of the PHS sector is essential to the provision of the accessible, affordable and high-quality care services needed for older people to live autonomously and independently in the long-term – a position we had already highlighted in our response to the Commission’s call for feedback on its roadmap on the Green Paper on Ageing.