Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Dependent Elderly and Gender Equality in Bulgaria

Beleva, Iskra (2010): Dependent Elderly and Gender Equality in Bulgaria. Published in:


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The paper describes the current provisions, employment implications and policy options for care for elderly people in Bulgaria. The aging of the Bulgarian population makes this problem quite sensitive for the society and important from policy point of view. That is because the elderly people are more vulnerable to poverty than the other age groups. This prioritizes the accessibility and affordability of the social care services of dependent elderly people. The author describes the system, incl: services provided in institutions; services provided in the society; services provided to elderly people at home by institutions or by society; home care for elderly by family members and other services for disabled people; medical services – meds. As a result the author makes conclusion that the system of social services in Bulgaria is in a process of transformation. Its’ main characteristics are individualization of the services depending on people’s needs, focusing on the social integration of the elderly people in the society, delegating financial resources and providing services depending on the local demand. Different programs, finance by EFS and other donors, are available and support the national budget in developing social services for elderly people. Summarizing the progress of the reforms, we have to say that today the mentioned targets are at different stage of their achievements, and the care for elderly people is presented by a set of social services provided in the community and in the family, as well as by services provided in institutions. The providers of the services include public and private agents, non-governmental organizations, etc. The financing of the elderly care services rely on local, national, international funds and donations. The study of the effects of the ongoing reforms on the quality and quantity of provided services is based not on systematic but mainly on episodic information. However, there are evidences that the quality of the provided services has to be further improved, and there are some services, the demand for which is higher than their supply. A relatively weak point in the system is the human capacity, both in volume and quality. The interest of the new generations to enter this sector is low, there is a lack of motivation due to the low prestige and payment, there are limited opportunities for career development, etc. The social care for elderly people is a feminized sector, and many women employed in the sector have left it and emigrated abroad. Bulgaria is a source country of good quality personnel, who prefer to work abroad because of the better payment.

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