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Care Crisis in Spain: Family, health and the well-being of the elderly in Spain

Labour economics

Senior Researcher : María Isabel Sánchez Domínguez

Research Centre or Institution : Universidad Complutense de Madrid


The results of the project show that the care crisis is having a negative effect on families and female caregivers. Dual labor market and the welfare state are playing a decisive role in the configuration of family strategies based on their economic resources. Households with greater purchasing power are covering their care needs more efficiently while households with less resources are in a situation of greater vulnerability. This social inequality is joined by the emotional factor and health. To the family burden that female caregivers usually face, we must add the psychological burden that this task usually enters. We must not forget that family caregivers usually take care of their children or grandchildren, parents, parents-in-law, their loved ones. Spanish women who provide the primary informal care have a higher incidence of emotional disorders, including anxiety, and nervous or psychiatric problems. They are also the ones who report the highest percentage of moderate or severe chronic pain. The project shows that there is a north-south gradient in Europe in terms of health of caregivers, with Spanish women having the worst health. The question is what will be the consequences of the current levels of health among caregivers in their well-being in old age, especially from the mid-21st century. Current caregivers will live their ‘old age’ in a specific context for a welfare state that relegates the care of dependent people to the family. But, as the project shows, it will have a specific deficit in the number of potential caregivers. For the future, our most important challenge is to make an effective work-life balance, labor market integration among female immigrants, and long-term-care policy.


Scientific Production
Magazine Articles 3
Communications at national conferences 6
Communications at international conferences 6


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