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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Abstract

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
Volume73
Issue number2
Early online date24 Feb 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

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