The Care for Older People during the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Overview of the Situation in Poland
Purpose: The research aims to review and assess the situation of the old adults as well as formal and informal elderly care in Poland at the time of Covid-19. Design/methodology/approach: It includes, inter alia, the relevant literature overview, short characteristics of the structure of care facilities for the elderly and the sources of their financing, changes related to the pandemic and their consequences, identification of the main socio-economic problems of caregivers, and the impact of the pandemic on the health, dignity, and well-being of older adults. The study uses secondary data from the national statistics, Eurostat, OECD as well as primary data from the survey addressed to the older persons and their formal and informal carers (including family members), that was conducted to examine economic, financial, social, and health condition both of caregivers and care receivers during the pandemic. Findings: The study is situated within the domain of the economics of care, health economics, behavioural economics, and social policy. It provides an important contribution to the understanding of the challenges faced both by the most vulnerable people who need support and providers of this support during the crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. Practical implications: Research shows that public long-term care for the elderly in Poland does not sufficiently meet the needs, while commercial facilities are too expensive long-term care solutions, which is why the care is mostly provided in-home by relatives. Moreover, during Covid-19, the burden on families with caring for older people increased compared with "normal" times.