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The place of the family in caring for dependent elderly people (Germany, England, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal)

Abstract : The aim of this report is to determine the extent of the “family-oriented” aspects of the national laws compared in this review: the extent to which the national laws examined rely on family solidarity to care for dependent elderly people. We have focused on two main aspects: how far does legislation make family solidarity compulsory between family members, in particular as regards maintenance obligations? In this regard we describe the civil rules governing maintenance obligations and family solidarity. How far do social protection provisions (social security or community care) rely on family solidarity to refuse a service or benefit or to reclaim the cost of such services or benefits? In this regard we describe the way in which civil laws relating to family solidarity are linked to social security benefits in >favour of dependent elderly people. The aim here is not to measure the care and support effectively provided by family members but only to present an overview of the laws which, in this area, integrate in one way or another the concept of family solidarity. In any event it would be impossible to achieve that solely on the basis of an examination of such laws and it would be illusory to attempt to deduce the existence of family solidarity in law depending on the whether or not the relevant laws establish a maintenance obligation. The laws in question may not be applied. Above all the social protection measures which rely on family solidarity as grounds for refusing a benefit claim or reclaiming benefit payments or the cost of services apply only in the framework of an action by the social security agencies, which may or may not invoke these laws. Accordingly, if the social security bodies do not offer any solution (there is no right, budgets are exhausted, the number of beds available is insufficient, etc.), these laws will be irrelevant and that will obviously not mean that family solidarity does not come into play. On the contrary: it is valid to assume that family solidarity comes into play even more when social protection systems do not provide a solution, or at least only a partial solution. It is a known fact that these two levels of support are complementary and that family members provide less support when they themselves are in a difficult situation. In order to determine to what extent families contribute to caring for dependent >elderly people, it is therefore necessary to measure the care and support effectively provided by families at the same time as that actually provided under social protection schemes, irrespective of whether such aid falls within the scope of specific benefits or services for dependent elderly people or is covered by general social protection, such as the level of pensions or the scope of health care. It must therefore be borne in mind that the information contained in this report can in no event provide an indication as to the importance of the various types of family care and support effectively provided to elderly dependent relatives
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Contributor : Véronique Litaudon <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, February 21, 2007 - 2:40:38 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, May 30, 2020 - 3:39:55 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-00132438, version 1


Isabelle Sayn, Christiane Delbes, Nicole Delpérée, Alain Devers, Paula Guimarães, et al.. The place of the family in caring for dependent elderly people (Germany, England, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal). [Research Report] Fondation Nationale de Gérontologie. 2006. ⟨halshs-00132438⟩



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