The issue of long-term care is currently not receiving the attention from politics that it deserves. This is the opinion of around 70 per cent of the population, according to a survey by the Allensbach Institute. Our society is clearly still ignoring the fact that by 2030, around eight million people in Germany will be over 60 years of age. And although age does not necessarily equate with a need for long-term care, the probability of care being required nonetheless increases with advancing years. It is predicted that the number of persons requiring long-term care could more than double from the present figure of 2.13 million to 4.35 million by 2050. At the same time, the number of potential private carers will decrease. What's more, there are already major bottlenecks in the professional care sector, which will worsen considerably over the next few years.
Green policy on long-term care aims to put people first. User-oriented care must address people's real needs. Most people requiring long-term care wish to remain in their familiar surroundings for as long as possible. As the guiding vision for decent care, a new concept of care is required; this must treat mental and physical impairments as equal and be tailored to individual social and financial circumstances. Individual, participatory and resource-oriented care must be the focus here. We believe it is vital to strengthen the role of persons requiring care and their reference persons – which does not just mean families or relatives. Keywords in our policy on long-term care are therefore consumer orientation and consumer protection. This includes, for example, the provision of independent counselling structures.
Carers at work
The task of caring for the health and wellbeing of an ageing population is likely to change radically. It will require greater linkage between providers, in the interests of users, and there will be less room for conflicts in defence of own interests and vested rights. This applies across the board, not only to cooperation in individual fields. However, greater integration is not only required at the professional level. Whether care will in future be decent and affordable will crucially depend on a good mix of various forms of assistance being available. It will become increasingly important to combine civic engagement, neighbourhood support, easily accessible offers and professional services in an effective way and avoid frictional losses.
Citizens' insurance – a green concept – sustainable and equitable
The goal of a capital-funded system of long-term care, as advocated by the CDU/CSU and the FDP, lacks solidarity and is socially inequitable. Under this model, everyone – from a female carer working with the elderly to Deutsche Bank chief Josef Ackermann – pays the same amount per capita. Under our model, every citizen, man and woman, would pay into an insurance scheme according to their means. All the revenue should be used as a basis for calculating contributions. We want to abolish the division between statutory and private long-term care insurance, which conflicts with the principle of solidarity. In order to safeguard the provision of decent care once society's ageing reaches its peak, we want to establish a kind of joint savings account for this period, with every insured person paying a solidarity-based contribution into this account according to their means. It is time to equip ourselves for demographic change. Our policies are ready and waiting.