Modern Servitude: Romanian Badante Care for Elders in Italy

As Europe confronts the challenges of an aging population, workers from relatively poor countries relocate to wealthier communities to provide care. “Badante” is an Italian term for caregiver that also refers to foreign women, especially the Romanians who leave home and family to work long hours for low pay in Italy. The women “voluntarily enter this modern version of servitude, caring for the elderly, many of whom might otherwise be neglected,” explains journalist Raluca Besliu. Such arrangements persist because of demographic differences among countries, strained national budgets, and uneven coverage of long-term care and home health care for the elderly. The European Union allows cross-border labor mobility, but regulations cannot contain the resentment. Many Romanian caregivers may not feel welcomed in Italy, but they also do not want to return to their homeland and limited opportunities. – YaleGlobal