The National Report portrays the landscape of informal care services and caregivers in Portugal for individuals aged 18 to 64. It outlines the needs and challenges faced by the YoungCare target group while providing practical support and examples of best practices. Partner organizations from Germany, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Portugal aim to illuminate the often precarious situation of young adults requiring care and those who care for them.
The term “younger adults” is employed in the project to describe an age group that falls between children, young people, and senior citizens. Recognizing the vast age variation within this group, the project draws a distinction between those who have required care since birth and those who acquire such needs later in life.
According to data from National Institute of Statistics (Instituto Nacional de Estatística – INE), 10.9% of the Portuguese population aged 5 and over have at least one disability, translating to approximately 1,127,394 people with disabilities in Portugal, with a notable prevalence in women (62% female and 38% male). Unfortunately, data on individuals who started to need care between 18 and 64 years of age was not available.
Since 2020, the Statute of the Informal Caregiver (Estatuto do Cuidador Informal – ECI) has been implemented, albeit with some limitations in the field. It aims to guarantee a set of fundamental rights for informal caregivers, including the recognition of their fundamental role in providing and maintaining the well-being of the person under their care, accompaniment, and training to develop their skills, and acquire the necessary competencies to provide adequate health care to the person under their care, among others.
Two experts were interviewed, along with three individuals in need of care, three informal carers of individuals who started needing care between the ages of 18-64, and two informal carers of younger adults who had a disease as children. All interviewees, including informal caregivers and those in need of care, shared profoundly challenging stories on various fronts. They recounted struggles such as insufficient state support, financial hardships, and the overwhelming physical and psychological toll of their circumstances. However, their stories also revealed tremendous resilience, warranting further analysis. For a more in-depth exploration of these narratives and other topics covered in the National Report, visit https://youngcare.eu/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/YoungCare_NationalReports_Portugal_Final.pdf.