University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom
According to Greek Statistical Authority (EL.STAT.) the percentage of the older population in Greece (aged 65 and over comparing to the total population) is expected to arrive in 2050 to about 32% (from 18.8% in 2010), speculated almost a doubling of the ratio within fourty years’ time. The welfare system in Greece is traditionally classified as a mixed system with elements and features of both model Bismarck regarding the active role and presence of social security and the model Beveridge, as the main source of financing remains the state budget. Particularly, care for older people in accordance to the Mediterranean concept has been characterised a ‘family affair’ while public provision has been limited and unpaid family care work has played a central role in covering caring needs of older people and this pattern restrained further the development of formal care services, resulting to an extremely low number of older people living in specialized institutions, comparing to other European countries (1%, 2011 census data). However, Greek family and household structures are under modification due to the increasing participation of women in the labour market and in education, as well as of changes in gender roles and relations in addition to high youth-unemployment levels. The paper argues that the poor welfare structure and nursing home network that now operates in Greece will not be able to support in the near future the increasing needs and demand for institutional and non-institutional care resulting by population ageing and the westernization of the Greek society.