Demographic change: More in-home care

Demographic change is a reality: there are more and more older people in Germany, Europe and all over the world. This increases the percentage of people that need care. They are not only being cared for in professional care facilities but also gradually more often at home in private settings.


Photo: Caregiving relative with elderly woman in wheelchair

Family members often look for their relatives in need of care at home; © Trautmann

Take Germany for example: in December of 2013, 2.63 million people in Germany were in need of care from a total population of 80.62 million people. According to an announcement by the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), more than two-thirds (71 percent or 1.86 million) of them received in-home care. In this group, 1.25 million people in need of care solely received a care allowance. According to Destatis, this generally results in them being cared for exclusively by family members.

The Destatis press release on the semi-annual report on "Care Statistics 2013 in Germany" (German: Pflegestatistik 2013 – Deutschlandergebnisse) also states: "Another 616,000 persons in need of care also lived in private households; however, they were being cared for along with or completely by outpatient care services. A total of 764,000 persons in need of care (29 percent) received full-time inpatient care in nursing homes."

Compared to December 2011, the number of persons in need of care increased by 5 percent. The number of persons who exclusively receive a care allowance and also those who were cared for by outpatient care services also showed an increase of 5.4 and 6.9 percent, respectively.
Graphic: Pie chart about how often caregiving relatives work

Full time job care: Two-thirds of caregiving family members are working everyday; © Pflegestudie der Techniker Krankenkasse 2014

Family members often provide care without (professional) assistance

There are therefore more and more people who are being cared for by their families in their own four walls. This task is exhausting and physically strenuous for many. This can result in back pain, stress and even depression.

Despite all that, only 41 percent of caregiving family members obtain professional assistance from outpatient caregivers. This is the result of the German Technician Health Insurance (Techniker Krankenkasse, TK) care study, for which the Forsa polling institute interviewed more than 1,000 caregiving family members. The report continues, "Only eight percent intermittently use the support of professional facilities for daily, nightly or short-term stays. Two-thirds (65 percent) of caregiving family members are working daily."

Approximately, more than half of them share the various caregiving responsibilities with other family members, friends and neighbors. Every fourth person is actually in charge of caregiving all on their own.
Graphic: Tree chart - statements about care

Every fourth caregiving person does it on his or her own on a regular basis; © Pflegestudie der Techniker Krankenkasse 2014

Care consulting is largely unknown

Why is that? A representative population poll by the Quality in Care foundation (Stiftung Zentrum für Qualität in der Pflege) ZQP revealed that approximately 60 percent of Germans actually don’t know that there is a statutory right to individual, independent and free care consulting since 2009. Persons in need of care who draw or applied for benefits from long-term care insurance can request it immediately.

"Only 25 percent of respondents indicated having knowledge of a facility that’s specialized in care nearby – just eight percent knew an actual support point of care. Yet those were specifically set up to ensure locally available consulting. Overall, only every fifth respondent knows how he or she would actually need to proceed in a family nursing situation," a ZQP press release states in the spring of 2015.

Information ensures quality

"Oftentimes, care consulting is still a wasted opportunity in Germany. It needs to be effective in helping persons in need of care and their family members to make their own decisions. The results of the analysis revealed this," Dr. Ralf Suhr, CEO of ZQP, is being cited in the press release.

And there is a demand for this because almost two-thirds of respondents feel insufficiently or even poorly informed about the services persons in need of care and their family members are legally entitled to. The need for information is subsequently great. In conclusion, Suhr also states in the press release, "Great consulting also ensures the quality of care for people."

That’s the current situation in Germany.
In October, people all over the world come to the REHACARE in Düsseldorf to – among many other things – get informed about news in the area of care. That is why we want them to tell us: what is the situation like in your native country? Tell us about your experience – by sending an email to or by visiting our Facebook page. 
Photo: Nadine Lormis; Copyright: B. Frommann

© B. Frommann

Nadine Lormis
(Translated by Elena O'Meara.)