With rising life expectancy, more people now reach an age where declining physical and mental health make them dependent on help from others. This has an impact on long-term care expenditure, which is rising faster than expenditure on health and pensions.
Family members, mainly women, currently provide most long-term care. However, the supply of informal carers is expected to decline, as people are having fewer children, who may also live further away from their elderly parents and may not be able or willing to provide care.
Hence, social protection systems will increasingly need to provide for those in need of long-term care. At present only a few EU countries provide comprehensive social protection to cover the need for care in old age.
The European Pillar of Social Rights stresses the right to affordable long-term care services of good quality, in particular home-care and community-based services (Principle 18).
The EU promotes cooperation between EU countries in this field through the open method of coordination, focusing in particular on access, quality and sustainability.