According to a study, it is not only the shortage of skilled workers that endangers nursing care in Germany. Around 185.000 out of 2.5 million family caregivers feel completely overburdened and are on the verge of stopping caregiving.
6.6 percent, or 164.000 people, only want to continue caring with more help, just under one percent do not want to do so for longer under any circumstances. This emerges from the care report of the health insurance Barmer presented on Thursday in Berlin.
Seven out of eight main caregivers (87.5 percent), however, usually or always get along well with caregiving. For the study, conducted by Bremen-based health economist Heinz Rothgang, about 1.900 caring relatives surveyed. 1.65 million of family caregivers are women.
According to the study, only one-third of all those affected go to work; one in four has had to reduce or completely give up their work because of caregiving. Almost 40 percent of those surveyed said they had too little sleep, 30 percent felt trapped in their role as caregivers, and for one in five, caregiving is actually too stressful.
Strong indication that care makes ill
Almost one in five also has fears about the future and existence. According to the study, caring for relatives more often leads to mental illness, results in stress or a so-called stress disorder. Rothgang sees these differences as a "strong indication" that caregiving is actually making people sick.
According to the German Foundation for Patient Protection, Germany lacks a real relief for caring relatives.
Existing offers were not sufficient or went nowhere. The situation is particularly difficult for working people, explained board member Eugen Brysch. "Work and care can only be reconciled if there is a state-funded wage replacement benefit for caregiving relatives similar to parental allowance."
Relatives are often left alone
The president of the social association VdK Germany, Verena Bentele, called for better and faster advice for caregivers. Relatives would often be surprised by the situation and left alone. Care support points or counseling at home could help those affected to fill out applications and take advantage of assistance offers.
Pia Zimmermann, spokeswoman for care policy for the Left Party parliamentary group, criticized the current care system. There was a lack of thousands of places in short-term care, independent advice and relief offers. Politicians must provide more support for professionals and family caregivers.