The demographic balance between the disabled older population and their informal caregivers in Spain. Past, present and future scenarios
Celia Fernández-Carro, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)
Rosa Gómez-Redondo, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)
Noelia Cámara, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)
The changes related to health needs in old age have converted care in one of the key mechanism to maintain well-being in later life. In Spain, the support provided to older disabled population is broadly assumed by relatives, being female partners and adult children the archetypical figure of the caregiver. However, considering the socio-demographic transformations regarding to population structure, family relations, household composition and gender roles, it could be expected an imbalance between the volume of potential informal caregivers and the volume of older population with care needs in the coming decades. With the aim to provide empirical evidences that illustrate the past, present and future scenarios, this paper examines the evolution of the structural relationship between the disabled older population receiving care and their informal caregivers in Spain, identifying the most representative profiles of both groups in demographic terms; i.e. age, gender and generation. The data to define the basic features of the informal caregivers and the disabled older population will be drawn from the Encuesta de Discapacidad, Autonomía personal y situaciones de Dependencia 2008 (Survey of Disability, Personal Autonomy and Dependency situation). The demographic balance between the informal caregivers and the disabled older people is estimated by means of the Older Old Informal Support Ratio (OOISR), selecting from the data provided by the National Institute of Statistics of Spain (INE) those population particularly at risk to be carer/dependent elderly according to the archetypes previously established. The results of this research contribute to shed light on the demographic reality behind social practices and dynamics related to informal care in old age. The development of effective policy responses in this respect depends on measures that consider the structural relationship between disabled elderly and their informal caregivers in their design and implementation.