Dr. Alexandra Lopes, director of the research center of the Sociology Institute of the University of Porto and member of the SPRINT research team was invited to participate in the consultation on new legislation regarding the recognition of informal carers in Portugal and the establishment of relevant support mechanisms for this group of population. Following a petition, presented last year to the Portuguese Parliament, by a group of citizens, acting on behalf of patients and family members of patients with Alzheimer disease, the government has nominated a committee of experts to study the topic and to produce a report with recommendations on new legislation about informal care. In response to this initiative members of the Portuguese Parliament organised some public debates, in Lisbon and in Porto, to discuss the topic with both academic experts and the general public.
Consultation sessions took place in January and February 2018 and one of the topics of discussion concerned the identification of the multidimensionality of the implications of being and informal carer. Considering also the research work in the context of the SPRINT Project, Dr. Lopes suggested that any legislative effort must take into account not only the creation of mechanisms of direct support to the carers (e.g. respite care, training, adaptation of living environments), but also mechanisms that minimize the indirect costs of becoming a carer (e.g. carer’s allowance, pension entitlements, part-time and flexible hours labour legislation, tax relieves).