The Future Shape of Care

04/29/2013

Fraunhofer IAO is developing progressive solutions for care of the elderly as part of the Care 2020 joint research project. Project partners are currently examining indicators of success within the intensely competitive care-sector job market, and exploring ways to involve caregiving relatives.

As the population continues to age through demographic change, we are increasingly confronted with the question of who will support and care for our elderly in future. Today’s arrangements, where care is generally provided by professionals on the one hand and by friends and relatives on the other, are being upset by a growing shortage of caregivers.

Competition for highly qualified carers and nursing staff is already stiff. Organizations that assist the elderly must rethink their recruitment policies and improve their human resources marketing if they wish to remain competitive. But what do staff in the care sector expect from their employers? What criteria do they base their decision upon when choosing which organization to work for? Fraunhofer IAO’s first major objective is to investigate these questions by way of a large-scale study.

Relatives of elderly people in need of care and assistance are another focus of research. Family and neighbors currently assume the majority of responsibilities when it comes to supporting and caring for elderly dependents. Geographical distance and future changes to people’s working environments influence the way in which relatives are able to provide care.

But what forms of support will relatives be able and willing to offer in future? How can we develop new care concepts, for example by incorporating technology and flexible commitment that also fit around relatives’ lives and accommodate their future plans?

New opportunities and competitive advantages will be opened up for care agencies, manufacturers and external service providers by gaining an insight into the attitudes held by relatives who may end up caring for elderly members of their family, as well as by finding out what professional caregivers expect of their employers. Fraunhofer IAO is collaborating with other research partners in the fifth phase of the Care 2020 research project both to address these issues and to develop specific recommendations for shaping and implementing the success factors they have identified.

Interested service providers, manufacturers and care-sector agencies are welcome to become a partner in the Care 2020 joint research project at any time to help define the future shape of care.

REHACARE.de; Source: Fraunhofer IAO

More about the Fraunhofer IAO at: www.iao.fhg.de