APH 2001, 59, 329-346:

Care dependency and non-medical care use in Flanders.

J. Breda and J. Geerts


Social care needs concern the daily functioning of persons and households in the community, e.g. the performance of instrumental tasks such as shopping and preparing meals, but also personal care tasks such as washing, eating and getting in and out of bed. Persons with specific deficiencies, be it instrumental and/or personal, will tend to adopt specific problem-solving strategies, such as seff-help, calfing on care from relatives, friends or professional workers (cleaning, household services, personal care, transport). For planning and budgeting purposes, specifically in the context of the introduction in Flanders of social care insurance, it is essen≠tial that a reliable estimation is made of the objective social care needs of the population. The Flemish social care insurance scheme not only con≠tributes towards the cost of recognised professional care services, it also offers compensation for informal care provided by a partner, relatives, neighbours or friends. Accurate data about the use of different types of care are therefore also required. In order to arrive at a reliable estimation of social care needs in Flanders, we utilised data on chronic limitations and disabilities from the 1997 Belgian Health Interview Survey (1) and data from a Flemish survey of the aged (75 years or over) conducted in 1994 by the Department of Sociology and Social Policy, UFSIA (2). On this basis, we estimate the total number of care dependent persons in Flanders at approximately 259,000. This total is made up of 128,000 moderately dependent, 44,000 highly dependent and 79,000 very highly dependent individuals aged 15 or over, and 8.000 care dependent children. Roughly 80% of those requiring care are 65 years or older. Data regarding care usť among the care dependent indicate that by no means all these people call on formal care.