Caregiving and care receiving across Europe in times of COVID-19 | Munich Center for the Economics of Aging - MEA

Caregiving and care receiving across Europe in times of COVID-19


The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the European countries at the beginning of 2020. This has become particularly problematic for those in need for personal care as related epidemiological control measures (physical distancing, stay-at-home requirements etc.) installed in almost all European countries strongly affected the possibility to provide care to others as well as to receive care from people outside the own household. Against this background, this paper focus on how caregivers and care recipients living at home (the non-institutionalized) dealt with the situation using preliminary data from the 8th wave of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) until its suspension in March 2020 and the SHARE Corona Survey fielded from June to August 2020. Concretely, we analyzed the effects of the pandemic as well as accompanying public health measures on those giving as well as receiving personal care by exploring country differences on COVID-19-related changes. Our results show that giving personal care to parents has increased, while care to children, in turn, has decreased. Further, about one out of five care recipients had difficulties in obtaining personal care during the pandemic, which was mainly because carers could not come to the home of the care recipients. In addition, country differences played an important role in explaining perceived difficulties in receiving home care and hence are an important starting point for policy makers and social organizations. 


Michael Bergmann


Melanie Wagner

Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA)