Diversity in older adults’ care networks: the added value of individual beliefs and social network proximity

M.T. Jacobs, M.J. Aartsen, D.J.H. Deeg, M.I. Broese Van Groenou

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Objectives: Policy reforms in long-term care require an increased share of informal caregivers in elderly care. This may be more feasible for older adults who (believe they) can organize the care themselves and have a local social network. This study describes care network types, how they vary in the share of informal caregivers, and examines associations with characteristics of community-dwelling older adults, including individual beliefs and network proximity. Method: Latent class analyses were applied to a subsample of older care receivers (N = 491) from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, in order to identify homogeneous subgroups of people with similar care networks. Multinomial regression analysis explored associations between network type and care receiver characteristics. Results: Privately paid, coresidential, large informal, and publicly paid care network types were distinguished. Variation in informal care appeared mostly related to health, partner status, income, and proximity of children. Proximity of other potential informal caregivers did not affect the network type. Perceived control of care was highest in the privately paid network. Discussion: The results suggest that local (non-)kin could be mobilized more often in coresidential networks. Increasing informal or alternative care in publicly paid networks is less likely, due to limited social and financial resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326–336
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology. Series B : Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number2
Early online date24 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


This work was supported by the National Care for the Elderly Programme as commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (grant number 314080302). Data were collected in the context of Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, which is funded largely by the Dutch Ministry of Welfare, Health and Sport.

FundersFunder number
National Care for the Elderly Programme
Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport314080302


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