Pflege über räumliche Distanz hinweg | Munich Center for the Economics of Aging - MEA


Publication Series of the MPI for Social Policy

Pflege über räumliche Distanz hinweg



The support of relatives living far away in terms of distance caregiving between children and their parents has gained in importance in Europe. At the same time, little is known about these care arrangements based on representative European survey data.


This article is concerned with the following questions: which statements are possible in Europe about the prevalence of persons caring for at least one parent from a geographical distance? Which forms of support are provided and which other specific socioeconomic and health-related aspects characterize these care situations? In this respect special attention is paid to differences to relatives who provide help close to their parents who are in need of care.

Material and methods

Data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) from the sixth wave of the survey in 2015 were used to perform a descriptive analysis and multivariate logistic regression.

Results and conclusion

The analysis showed that distance caregiving is more than a marginal phenomenon in Europe with a prevalence of 11% for a relatively close terminology (over 100 km distance between locations) and 23% for a broader terminology (over 25 km); however, the various countries are very different in terms of prevalence. The findings also point to some significant differences in terms of resources, care tasks and quality of life compared to caregivers in the same household. In light of these dynamically developing distance caregiving arrangements, this article can provide further discussion, critical reflection, and advancement to the operationalization of informal care.

Publication Details

Melanie Wagner

Annette Franke

Ulrich Otto

S. 529–536
Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie
online first