By the year 2050, the number of people potentially in need of care in the European Union is projected to rise by more than 8 million, leading to an increase in the demand for long-term care services. 

This projection is revealed by the 2021 Long-term Care Report – Trends, Challenges and Opportunities in an Ageing Society, recently published by the European Commission and the Social Protection Committee.

The report provides an overview of the state of play of long-term care systems in the EU and recent reforms, highlighting also first response measures taken during the pandemic. The report maps current and future demand for long-term care and gaps in accessing formal care, in the context of demographic changes, in particular the growing share of the older population and changes in the household structures and the labour market.

Amongst its findings, the report shows that more than a third of older people in the EU do not use the necessary care because they cannot afford it and that long-term care is needed more by women than men, with almost double the amount. Women are also the large majority of carers, while many workers in the sector experience difficult working conditions and low wages, resulting in labour shortages.