Our rapidly aging society is the more and more in need for caregivers who have the appropriate skills to accompany those going through the final stages of life. We live in an age of growing demand for health and social services. Dramatic demographic change – higher life expectancy coupled with declining birth rates- and radical shifts in employment and family patterns result in a rapidly growing demand for formal care services and skilled workers targeting needs which were previously informally met by families. In parallel, many European governments have cut funding to the social sector as part of their financial reform schemes. Therefore, snowballing burdens impact the health and social services provision across the EU. Many countries suffer from severe staff shortages in the sector, and oftentimes social workers do not have adequate skills due to a lack of (quality) training opportunities, both prior to entering the profession and as continuous career development.
In Europe, most of those who take care of an old person are either their family members or disadvantaged workers: undeclared migrants, labourers with no qualifications or with a nursing or kin qualification gained outside the EU and not automatically validated in the Union’s member states.
When the old person who is cared for passes away, informal caregivers encounter many obstacles to enter or re-enter the job market. They do not get any recognition and visibility for their caregiving experience and there is no way, for them, to get the skills gained through their experience formally validated, economically appraised and socially enhanced.
The Eldicare project tackles this thorny issue by providing actual and perspective caregivers of the elderly with skills recognition patterns, standardised training programmes leading to certification, and opportunities for more dignified carrier pathways.
The project’s mission is to define the caregiver of the elderly as a distinguished professional profile, with its own specific skills, qualification and training patterns. In parallel, ELDICARE intends to pave the way to rethink and rebrand the elderly care sector by better exploiting the ICT and smart healthcare potential, and bridging traditional approaches with modern applications and cutting-edge technologies.