Sunday, April 22, 2007

The transformation of caring for the elderly in Europe

The revelation in Australia that some 5 people have died recently in an old age facility in one State and in another State investigations are underway at an old age home where the residents have got sick, highlights the issue of the care of our senior citizens.

With ageing populations in most Western countries Governments will need to address the critical issue of its elderly, the cost of looking after them and what that all means to taxpayers in doing so. The Australian Government has prepared a so-called Inter-Generational Report, which appears to have garnered more criticism for what it left out rather than being a positive contribution to the subject.

The IHT reports on how Europe is dealing with the issue:

"Meanwhile, demographics are shifting: By 2050, people over 65 are forecast to make up one-third of the EU population, a jump from 16.5 percent today. As the old safety nets erode, European states are searching for formulas to reduce health care and retirement costs in the face of strong demand for services.

So how will the next generation fund its needs? The solution is part private, part public and the answer, of course, varies from country to country, shaped by national regulations and the relative generosity of taxpayers.

Governments, in general, are encouraging ways to help seniors remain outside of costly state-backed institutions. As the onus shifts to the individual, an increasing number of companies have seen an opportunity for profit. Market innovations range from new types of insurance policies, to specialized care homes and communities - for those who can afford them."

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