Senior care in Spain

Aging population in Spain

Spain has a rapidly aging population, thus a growing number of people in need of senior care in Spain. Currently Spain is the country with the most rapidly aging population in Europe. Over the last 20 years, the part of the population that is over 75 has doubled in size. 18% of the total population is over 65 and this number is growing 3% annually. This is mostly because of the baby boom that happened between 1950 and 1970 in Spain. These people are becoming 65 in the next 20 years.

With a declining birth rate, decreasing immigration and longer life expectancy this adds up to an increase in number of seniors and a decrease in total population. This means that the percentage of seniors of total population will increase rapidly.

How is senior care in Spain arranged

Retirement homes have not been very popular in Spain until recently. More and more women work full-time jobs and as was done previously, taking care of seniors cannot be done by family members at all times. In 2010, 70% of those in need of long term care where receiving this care from family members, a form of social care. Spain has a lot of large care homes, where facilities have been established for the care of over 100 patients. A rising problem is that waiting lists are often long. The demand for placement in a care home is high due to the aging population.

Spain counts numerous State nursing homes. These often have long waiting lists and you have to contribute to the costs.

Private care homes are also a possibility in Spain. These vary widely in the care they offer. These nursing homes are expensive and all costs are for the seniors themselves and there is no state funding.

The demand from Spain´s seniors

The demand from elderly for assistance is increasing and is highest in Andalusia, Catalonia and Madrid. A rising trend in Spain amongst seniors is to create their own senior community or retirement home. Senior Spaniards are gathering to facilitate their own living conditions. For example a group of friends move into the home of one of them or search for a new facility. The house is not too big and their financial burden is decreased. It also increases social interaction, they have the possibility to jointly hire help and all of them can take on a household task that they can execute.


Abandonment is an issue in Spanish healthcare. It happens often that seniors who are in a hospital are not being picked up by their family members. They provide many reasons, which might be valid ones, but for the hospital it is a real burden. The search for a nursing home starts and this sometimes takes a lot of time because of the waiting lists. Often these seniors do not feel happy in the hospital because they are limited in what they can do and they do not think of it as a nice place to stay, they want to go home. But these elderly need care at their home and are often not able to arrange this care themselves and need help from family members. Now the hospital is burdened with this task and is unable to provide care to other patients who might be in greater need of hospital care.

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