A husband, 73 years old, takes care of his wife, 61, at home in Bamberg. She needs a lot of help because of dementia and head trauma. For two years the man has been by her side around the clock. During the corona pandemic, the effort increases, more hygiene requirements; In addition, the man is burdened with the worry of infecting himself or his wife. At some point, says Ulrike Mascher, he urgently needed a vacation and wanted to leave for 14 days – but he couldn’t find any professional help for his wife. The state chairman of the social association VdK, Mascher, reported on Tuesday in a press conference. “This story is typical of the care situation in Bavaria,” she says. The man is left alone and so it is often.
A study from April and May this year, which the social association has now presented, shows that the pandemic has exacerbated the situation of many carers and those in need. More than 40 percent of the approximately 14,000 people from Bavaria who took part in the spring – people in need of care and carers – said the increase in exposure was “very strong”. Especially psychologically, the pressure has increased, said VdK head of department Yvonne Knobloch. A third of the respondents also had to forego services – among other things because these, like day care, could not be offered at times due to the pandemic. For about a third of the relatives it became more difficult to combine care and work. The fact that the pressure is increasing also shows that more and more people are looking for advice from the VdK, said Knobloch, the association projected around 24,000 consultations in long-term care insurance for 2021, in 2020 it will have been around 22,000 and in 2019 around 18,000.
According to the VdK, more than 490,000 people in Bavaria were recently in need of care. 71 percent were cared for at home and two thirds of them were cared for by relatives. And they need relief, said state chairwoman Mascher. Because of the exhausting work, but also because of rising costs and because outpatient services did not cover the needs. She criticized the nursing reform of the Federal Ministry of Health this summer as inadequate. She helps people in inpatient facilities, but those in need in outpatient or home care would be left behind. The VdK is therefore seeking a lawsuit and, if necessary, wants to go to the Federal Constitutional Court.
In addition to better help such as more care contact points, the association wants to ensure that care at home is better taken into account in retirement and anchored in law, so that those in need are entitled to day or night care. Carers should therefore also have the right to return to their workplace. The man from Bamberg ultimately asked friends for help. In turn, they would probably relieve him, said Mascher. But he was not at ease with that.