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What family support will dependent elders have in 2030? European projections

Population and Societies

444, April 2008

The ageing of the population raises the alarming prospect of a considerable increase in the number of elders with disabilities and in need of care. How many such people will there be in the future? How will they live? Will they have partners or children able to take care of them? To find out what the situ-ation will be in Europe, a research team has calculated projections of the dependent elder population up to 2030, distinguishing between family situations. Here team coordinator Joëlle Gaymu outlines the study’s findings.
If health conditions remain the same as today’s, the population of dependent persons aged 75 and over should increase by 70% in Europe between now and 2030. Over the same period, the proportion of that population having neither partner nor surviving children should decline in favour those with at least one potential family carer (partner or child). The situations of disabled elders will continue to differ according to sex, with men having a considerably greater chance than women of having a partner with them. The population needing formal care will increase as a result of the increasing numbers of very elderly, a higher proportion of male family carers and the more frequent survival of couples in which both partners are dependent

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