Some 15,000 people in Estonia are unable to work because they are bearing the burden of caring for loved ones, and few local governments are making the effort to ensure that this isn't the case, daily Postimees writes.
According to Ivar Paimre, a member of the board at the nonprofit Estonian Carers (MTÜ Eesti Omastehooldus), individuals with close relatives are not prioritized in receiving support, leaving the latter to seek services from the private market, which isn't always possible, the paper writes (link in Estonian).
While various programs are made available in Pärnu and Tallinn, for example, elsewhere in the country they are the exception rather than the norm, and families in need of assistance caring for their loved one must often sacrifice their jobs in order to provide this care, as alternatives are expensive enough to outweigh the income earned.
Paimre encouraged working carers, however, to inform their employers about their additional responsibilities.
"Employers often don't know that people have additional responsibilities, as a result of which they may be exhausted," he said, noting that according to European studies, one in eight employees are carers in addition to their work.
Editor: Aili Vahtla