Care4Carers – The situation of Family Carers in Germany



Around 3.4 million people in Germany are in need of care. Three quarters of them are cared for at home, 1.76 million of them usually by their relatives alone. Calculations currently assume that there are around 4.8 million family members providing care. Of these, around 2.5 million are employed. They have to shoulder care and work at the same time.

Even though the share of men among caregivers is gradually increasing, private home care is predominantly provided by women, mostly by the daughter, spouse, daughter-in-law or mother of the person in need of care. According to the results of the 2012 GEDA study, 6.9% of adults regularly care for a person in need of care. Among women, this share is significantly higher at 8.7% than among men at 4.9%. This means that almost two-thirds of caregivers (64.9%) are women, and just over one-third (35.1%) are men.

Caregivers with a high level of care belong more often to lower and less often to higher educational groups than non-caregivers. When looking at labor force participation, it is noticeable that women and men caring at least two hours a day are significantly less likely to be employed than non-carers. Family careers practice sport less often that non-careers, and tend to smoke more (the latter is true for women), however, they also consume less alcohol. In general, though, it can be said that they face greater health risks due to their lifestyle that the general population.

Studies in general conclude that caregivers are physically and emotionally overwhelmed. They are well aware that they are putting their own health at risk, but they often do not know where and how to find assistance.

The Corona pandemic exacerbated the existing challenges. A recent study concluded that the majority of carers feel that their specific role as has not been sufficiently taken into account by government policies during the pandemic. Significantly more caregivers feel lonely and overburdened since the onset of the pandemic. While around 20% of respondents say they have more or less enough time available for care, more than half of them say that care has become more time-consuming. For 70 % of the respondents, the ability to combine work and care has become worse.

Around 50% of carers who do not use the existing support infrastructure feel they have no need to. However, some 25-35% of carers have no knowledge of the available services, leaving them unable to benefit from their offers. A lack of time is fairly seldom sited as a significant obstacle, but in all probability the overpressures of the daily responsibility allow the carers no time to research how they can make their situation a little better.