Social network type and informal care use in later life: A comparison of three Dutch birth cohorts aged 75-84

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Abstract

Recent societal changes have increased the salience of non-kin relationships. It can be questioned whether networks types that are more strongly non-kin based give more informal care nowadays. We study how informal care use differs according to network type for three birth cohorts. Data from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) on older adults aged 75-84 years, interviewed in 1992, 2002 and 2012 respectively (total sample size N=2151, analytical sample having functional limitations N=926). We found four network types: restricted, family-focused with partner, family-focused without partner and wider community-focused diverse networks. Wider-community focused diverse networks are more common in the late birth cohort, whereas restricted networks and family-focused networks without partner are less common. Logistic regression analyses reveal that those in a family-focused network with a partner use informal care more often than those in the other three network types, and insignificant interaction terms show that this does not differ by birth cohort. Irrespective of their network type, those in the late birth cohort use informal care less often. However, after controlling for need, predisposing and context factors, this cohort-difference is no longer significant. We conclude that despite large-scale societal changes, wider-community-focused diverse networks do not provide more informal care than before and that among the functionally impaired, the odds of receiving informal care does not decline across birth cohorts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-770
Number of pages22
JournalAgeing and Society
Volume39
Issue number4
Early online date9 Nov 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

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