Ageing and Long-term Care



As people get older, it becomes more likely that they will need day-to-day help with activities such as washing and dressing, or help with household activities such as cleaning and cooking. This type of support (along with some types of medical care) is what is called long-term care.

Demand for long-term care is expected to rise, thanks in part to ageing populations and increasing prevalence of long-term conditions such as dementia.

The OECD has been at the forefront of analysis on long-term care since 2005, reviewing and providing best practices on several key areas:


  • How can countries ensure that the elderly live a long and healthy life and that care needs are delayed?
  • How can the quality of care be improved in long-term care and for people with dementia in particular?
  • How is long-term care provided across countries and who are the workers?
  • How can countries ensure a more efficient distribution of the costs of long-term care across public and private means?
  • How can countries provide appropriate palliative care at the end of life?









Data on long-term care

Access our latest data from OECD Health Statistics in the dataset Long-term care resources and utilisation:

A significant share of the spending on LTC services is covered by government or compulsory insurance schemes. Total government/compulsory spending on LTC (including both the health and social care components) accounted for 1.7% of GDP on average across OECD countries in 2017. At 3.7% of GDP, the highest spender was the Netherlands, followed by Norway (3.3%) and Sweden (3.2%). In these countries, public expenditure on LTC was around double the OECD average. At the other end of the scale, Hungary, Estonia, Poland, and Latvia all allocated less than 0.5% of their GDP to the delivery of LTC services.

Long-term care expenditure (health and social components) by government and compulsory insurance schemes, as a share of GDP, 2017 (or nearest year) 


Note: The OECD average only includes 17 countries that report health and social LTC. Access the data behind the graph.
Source: OECD Health Statistics 2020.


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