Ageing has become one of the major socio-economic concerns in Europe and beyond in recent years. Within the scope of the project Generations in Dialogue, ERSTE Foundation and the Institute of Social Policy at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration have cooperated in this study that has taken up the challenge of collecting information on how citizens, private individuals and the state deal with the issue of long-term care. The project puts this information into perspective, compares and contrasts it and discusses the challenges and perspectives in the future of long-term care in this region. The project covers eight countries in Central and South Eastern Europe.
Ageing societies in conjunction with broader socio-economic developments are challenging societies in various ways, for example in how they are dealing with social risks. All European countries are facing increasing numbers of elderly people and related increases in dependency. According to Eurostat forecasts, in the EU25 the proportion of the population aged 65+ will rise from 17.07% in 2007 to 20.68% in 2020 and nearly 30% in 2040. These figures show very clearly that the need for long-term care, help and support for frail elderly people is one of the main risks of these social changes. Historically, long-term care has been widely neglected as a social risk. While many European countries have started to extend existing programmes, in other countries, including those in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe, debates on the future of long-time care are still very much limited to small groups of experts. Reasons for this include the strong perceptions in society that long-term care should be a policy concern; the lack of lobbying that could make long-term care a major policy concern; and the lack of financial resources for long-term care. Finally, a broader and more focused debate on the future of long-term care is hindered by a lack of data and large variations in the general understanding and conceptualisation of care. In this report, key issues from the project are brought together in a coherent and accessible way. It provides an overview of common and diverse demographic and socio-economic challenges, outlines the current situation in the provision and financing of long-term care and discusses selected major issues for the future development of long-term care in Central and South Eastern Europe.