Caregivers form a large, though invisible, group of any city's society, Source: Depositphotos

Barcelona’s Caregiver Card grants free services to those caring for someone at home

Barcelona’s Caregiver Card grants free services to those caring for someone at home

Taking care of those who care is a way for the city to say ‘Thank you’

The Barcelona City Council will soon launch a unique card, called Caregiver Card (Targeta Cuidadora), as a way of showing appreciation and support to all the residents who provide care and assistance to infirm or disabled people in the city.

In general, the Caregiver Card will be used to access personalized services and resources aimed at caregivers, while accompanying them and facilitating their caregiving activity, as well as contributing to their well-being.

The new card will start operating at the end of September and it can be requested both by professional and non-professional caregivers.

Tackling the social invisibility of caregiving

Caregiving is demanding and stressful work, which has always been part of society and responsibility that has fallen on the shoulders of many family members throughout history without receiving much public support.

The idea came from the Network for the Support of Caring Families, which proposed the creation of a specific card as a concrete measure to ensure that all people who take care of sick or dependent family members on an unpaid basis receive the recognition they deserve and the support they deserve they need, in addition to accompanying the professionals in this area.

The Caregiver Card will give its holder access to 14 free services and programmes in order to better their quality of life. Among these will be things like a 24-hour psychological support phone line, special advice and guidance, a monthly newsletter, a “Take a break” program, and sports activities.

In addition, the 39 municipal markets will enable quiet hours on Wednesday mornings so that carers can shop more calmly and even be accompanied by the people they care for. During these hours, for example, the music line will be disconnected, the use of public address systems in establishments will be stopped, the digital screens will be switched off and the light intensity and the use of machines that cause noise will be reduced.

The gender side of caregiving

A study by the Institute of Regional and Metropolitan Studies of Barcelona (IERMB) places the potential audience of the Carer Card at 355,000 beneficiaries, a figure that includes all carers identified through the Barcelona Health Survey regardless of if care takes place inside or outside the home and its intensity.

However, among these 355,000 people, the IERMB study calculates that there are 178,000 people who carry out caring tasks with greater intensity and dedication, which includes the 160,200 non-professional carers who are in their own home or the 18,000 people who spend 20 hours or more a week working in a home that is not their own. This means that around 13.3% of the population aged 16 or over and resident in Barcelona is in this situation of carrying out care tasks with greater intensity and dedication!

The figures in the report also highlight that approximately one in four Barcelona women can be considered non-professional carers (24.4%), regardless of the intensity with which they carry out their work, a proportion that in the case of men is slightly lower (21.7%). Likewise, among non-professional carers, the percentage of women increases to 56.2%. As for the caregivers who are professionals, this percentage climbs close to 95%.



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