Informal carers are persons who provide care (usually unpaid) to someone with a chronic illness, disability or other long-lasting health or care need, outside of a professional or formal framework.
Informal carers across the EU provide over 80% of all care, with women providing approximately two thirds of care mainly as daughters (in law) and wives/partners. In our ageing societies, more and more people endorse informal caregiving activities.
Eurocarers Policy Officer Claire Champeix says: "While caring for a relative can be source of personal satisfaction, informal carers often face the specific difficulties attached to a disease such as dementia without benefiting from adequate support nor recognition."
Learning opportunities, especially online, are needed
According to Eurocarers, learning opportunities, in particular when embedded in a range of support services, are highly valued by informal carers, and recommended by health professionals, vocational training professionals as well as academic research.
However, evidence shows that informal carers face a multiplicity of obstacles preventing them from accessing training, including a lack of information, self-awareness, opportunities at disposal and limited availability due to their caring responsibilities. That's why online support and training would be very useful: It offers new ways to reach out to informal carers and provides them with new opportunities.
Both online and face-to-face modules
That's where the project TRACK (for TRAining and recognition of informal Carers’ sKills) comes in. It focuses on helping informal carers caring for a person affected by dementia. Building on the cooperation between training providers, informal carers organisations and experts on skills and qualification, it has developed:
- A baseline study on existing support and learning opportunities for informal carers in the EU;
- A blended training for informal carers facing dementia, combining online and face-to-face modules, adapted and tested in three pilot countries (Germany, Spain, France);
- A study on the feasibility of the certification of this training.