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Support for informal carers

Informal carers


The Welsh strategy contained a number of measures aimed at supporting carers of people with dementia, mostly outlined in other sections of this document. One commitment which underpins all of the measures is the commitment to ensure that carers will be offered an assessment of their own needs and, if eligible, a support plan will be developed with them. Similarly, the Irish strategy commits to ensuring that the carer assessment enables the provision of more targeted supports for carers. The Northern Irish strategy also commits to the implementation of a carer’s assessment tool for those caring for people with dementia.

On a similar theme, the Flemish dementia strategy identifies that care plans must focus on the role of unpaid carers outlining the support required to allow them to do this role and define the cooperation between informal and professional care. As part of this, the strategy committed to developing “psycho-education” tailored to informal caregivers with the aim of increasing the capacity and quality of life of the informal caregiver.

Information and services

The Danish strategy includes a specific commitment to fund the development and distribution of a national toolbox of courses for relatives. Similarly, the Maltese strategy commits to the development of an online guide to dementia for carers and family members.

The German strategic document has a significant focus on help and support for familial carers, with partners committing to evaluate and improve the quality of support and assistance available for carers, including counselling, peer support networks and information provision. The Federal Government, Länder and municipalities also committed to providing information on assistance and benefits to improve take up by carers. As part of this, the Federal Government committed to providing legal reform to allow for a better work/caring balance and the Länder committed to expanding low-threshold care services. The statutory social insurance system will develop a concept for preventing the deterioration of physical and mental health which can come from a caregiving role.

The Finnish strategy commits to ensuring that local and joint authorities must cooperate with the third sector to ensure that carers of people with dementia are supported, including having access to support to adjust to the situation and information about the condition. In addition to a case worker who oversees support for the affected person, goal-orientated peer support groups will be provided for informal carers.

The Italian strategy includes action points on monitoring health conditions and quality of life of carers of people with dementia, including through the promotion of informal supports. Similarly, the Israeli strategy identifies the need for the development and delivery of services specifically for carers, to maintain their social and emotional well-being including support groups and family therapy, providing information and support as needed by the individual.

The Greek strategy proposes a number of ways in which carers of people with dementia can be supported to maintain both their physical and mental well-being This includes the provision of information and training, including through staffed information centres in care facilities. The strategy also calls for the creation of a helpline for carers.

The English strategy groups together support for carers of people with dementia, committing to ensuring that they are aware of and offered the opportunity for respite, education, training, emotional and psychological support so that they feel able to cope with their caring responsibilities and to have a life alongside caring.

Scotland’s strategy contains a high level outcome in relation to ensuring that carers are encouraged to be involved throughout the duration of the illness, whilst also ensuring that the carers’ own needs are identified and addressed.

As part of the assessments referred to above, the Northern Irish strategy makes provision for health trusts to support carers through various means (including education and services) in line with their needs. The strategy also identifies the need for shared peer support networks for carers. In relation to decision-making, the strategy commits to trusts involving carers in planning for a patient’s discharge from hospital and intermediate care.

The proposed care pathway within the Portuguese strategy includes components for carers of people with dementia, which includes family/carer orientated supports, such as counselling and emotional support.

The Spanish neurodegenerative strategy focuses on the physical and mental well-being of carers, including identifying the need for a specific assessment for the needs of carers (with ongoing reviews of needs throughout the duration of the illness), as well as offering of supports, services as required.


The Cypriot and Spanish (neurodegenerative) strategy included a specific focus on delivering workshops for primary carers focused on skills, knowledge and coping mechanisms to carry out a caregiving role, whilst also including emotional support. Similarly, the Maltese strategy proposed training for caregivers, which would include a focus on stress management and communication, delivered by dementia professionals. Similar commitments are also made as part of broader measures in the English, Northern Irish and Portuguese strategies.

Financial assistance

The Flanders strategy proposed the automatic granting of compensation to both people with dementia and their carers through the Flemish Social Protection. Similarly, the Czech strategy proposed establishing new financial aid for carers, in addition to supporting economically active carers.

Other carers strategies/policies

The Irish strategy notes that it has a separate strategy for carers, whilst also noting that previous training needs analyses carried out had highlighted the need for training courses for carers of people with dementia.

Similarly, the Scottish strategy notes that primary legislation had been introduced which would provide more support to unpaid carers with the aim of improving their health and well-being, including through guaranteeing assessments of their needs and the provision of information and advice.


The Greek strategy also calls for an annual caregivers day to raise awareness of the position of unpaid carers.

The French neurodegenerative strategy makes a broad commitment to provide support for carers who care for members of their own family.

The Spanish neurodegenerative strategy commits to providing bereavement support for carers whose loved-one has died.

The Israeli strategy included a focus on ensuring that carers were aware of their legal rights, including the right to take six days of absence per year to care for a spouse or older parent, with a commitment to increase the number of leave days permitted to care for a family member. On a related theme, the English strategy commits to ensuring that more employers have carer friendly policies and practices to enable more carers to continue to work and care.



Last Updated: Monday 29 April 2019


  • Acknowledgements

    This report received funding under an operating grant from the European Union’s Health Programme (2014-2020). The content of the Yearbook represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains
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