According to a recent ILO study, at least 91 thousand elderly in Albania are in need of long-term care. Less than 2 percent of them are currently receiving formal long-term care services and most of them rely on family members, in particular unpaid female carers. With a rapidly ageing population and continual out-migration, Albania is facing an imminent challenge to ensure access to affordable and quality care services for all elderly in need.
At the National Forum for the Long-Term Care of the Elderly in Albania, organized by the ILO and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on 24 May 2022 , key strategic partners responsible for social care and protection gathered to discuss the current situation and future issues regarding long-term care for the elderly in long-term care in Albania. The event was organized within the framework of the Joint UN Programme “Strategic policy options for SDG financing."
The key findings and messages of the ILO policy study presented at the Forum are:
- The Albanian population is ageing rapidly. Between 2020 and 2050, the population aged 65 or above will increase from 420 thousand to 623 thousand, and its share in the total population will increase from 15 percent to 26 percent.
- The ILO estimates that 91 thousand persons aged 65 or above in Albania, or 22 percent of the population aged 65 or above, need long-term care. The estimated cost of care work is at least 1 percent of GDP. As the ageing population progresses, the number of persons potentially in need of long-term care in Albania will increase to 161 thousand by 2050. (See Figure)
- The existing municipal social care provision is insufficient to meet the growing demand for long-term care for the elderly. Currently, less than 2 per cent of the elderly in need of care receive care services. There is a wide geographical disparity in the access to care services between regions in Albania.
- The current limited capacity of public long-term care system implies that frail elderly have no alternative but to rely predominantly on the traditional intra-family provision of long-term care, which heavily depends on unpaid female carers.
- In view of the growing need of long-term care for the elderly, a proactive step should be taken to enhance the access to affordable and quality care services to all elderly in need, and to mobilize sustainable resources for an increased investment in residential, community-based and home-based care services across the country by fully implementing the National Action Plan on Ageing 2020-2024.
- To effectively integrate health and social services at the community level, it is crucial to appoint focal points for providing assistance to the elderly and their families and coordinating with service providers and health care providers. Securing the workforce for long-term care is another issue requiring urgent response for Albania. In addition, priority consideration should be made to the provision of services rather than cash benefits. Finally, it is necessary to explore all possible options to create a fiscal space to finance long-term care.
"Long-term care is an urgent need in Albania. The existing services for the elderly are insufficient in number and quality. We need to make efforts to build effective and quality services in every municipality of the country."
Denada Seferi, Deputy Minister of Health and Social Protection, Albania
The Joint SDG Fund's joint programmes are under the prestige leadership of the Resident Coordinator Office and implementing United Nations Agencies. With sincere appreciation for the contributions from the European Union and Governments of Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and our private sector funding partners, for a transformative movement towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.