This report was prepared by the Global Coalition on Aging in collaboration with its CARE Partners. The Global Coalition on Aging aims to reshape how global leaders approach and prepare for the 21st century's profound shift in population ageing. CARE (Caring for the Ageing Re-imagined in Europe), an initiative of 23 partners, is part of the EIT-Health Campus Annex Activities and is focused on reimagining caregiving and ageing in Europe through the development of caregiving skills and training for future generations of care professionals.
This landscape analysis underscores that the gap between the demand for elder caregiving and the supply of elder caregivers is substantial and growing across Europe. The Caregiving and Ageing Reimagined for Europe (CARE) initiative, which is part of the of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) – Health Educational CAMPUS, is a first step on the path to a long-term solution. CARE will build education and training that will supplement current elder caregiving skills and create opportunities for the development of thousands of new elder caregivers. It will also provide the guidance and tools for current and emerging institutions in education, healthcare and caregiving itself.
Based on this analysis and the CARE objectives, there are seven takeaways to inform how we implement CARE:
- Build on Traditional Approaches to Create New, Better Quality Elder Care. CARE should aim to enhance and supplement caregiving skills for the elderly to address new elder care needs arising from longevity and other health trends. These include skin health, vision loss, noncommunicable diseases (particularly Alzheimer’s and other Dementias) and nutrition.
- Identify and Respond to the Needs of Older People and Caregivers. CARE should improve knowledge amongst informal and formal caregivers to identify and respond to the needs that are important to the older person. It should improve knowledge amongst formal caregivers to identify and respond to the needs of informal caregivers in their caregiving roles.
- Support Ageing in Place with Professional Home Care. While European 20th century elder care has primarily focused on supporting long-term care (LTC) in institutional settings, 21st century longevity demands elder care that supports ageing in place. CARE must define how the needs for care recipients and caregivers differ in the home vs. an institution and map training strategies to ensure a positive and efficient elder caregiving environment that supports physical health and social connection.
- Integrate Elder Care Technologies. Opportunities abound for integrating technologies into elder care education. They should be seen as an enabler of elder care – not a replacement for caregivers. New technologies can also serve to disseminate standardized training at an accelerated pace and on a more expansive scale, improving care quality and increasing access.
- Education and Skill Development through CARE CAMPUS. Education can be the critical and normalizing pathway through which to elevate the standard of elder care. CARE will enable the creation of a body of knowledge to inform and provide the strategic support for higher quality, more effective elder care across all of Europe. CARE will develop systems to assure training in understanding older people’s needs and to promote person-centred care in the training of informal and professional caregivers.
- Drive Toward Sustainability. Our analysis is clear that the fiscal burden of health care is already challenging and will become unsustainable without strategic and systemic reforms. Public systems will be unable to continue taking care of elders with any degree of quality, unless novel care models and new roles are carved out for public-private partnerships in implementation of training programmes, support and oversight.
- Pursue Innovative Approaches to Education. Harnessing cutting-edge educational tools and applying them as never before to elder care is critical for a rapid uptake in training and enhanced skill development across Europe. On-line education will be an important enabler as will be integrating employers and other stakeholders who have an interest in solving 21st century elder care challenges.