Transitions in formal and informal care utilisation amongst older Europeans : the impact of national contexts
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
European journal of ageing. - Heidelberg
, p. 27-37
University of Antwerp
The objective of this study was to explore how long-term care systems, and in particular the incorporation of needs-based entitlements to care services or benefits, influence formal and informal care utilisation dynamics. We used the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) wave 1 and 2 data, restricting the sample to persons 65+ from 9 European countries ( = 6,293). The effects of changes in health and household composition on formal and informal care transitions were estimated using logistic regression, allowing these effects to vary across countries. The results indicated that, in all countries, formal and informal care were more often complements than substitutes. The likelihood of becoming a formal or informal care user varied significantly between countries. In the Scandinavian countries and in several continental European countries with needs-based entitlements, the transition to formal care was strongly related to informal support being or becoming unavailable. We found little evidence of country differences in the effect of health variables on the transition to formal care. The analysis suggested that, whilst rates of formal care utilisation continue to differ considerably between European countries, formal care allocation practices are not very dissimilar across Northern and continental European welfare states, as we found evidence for all countries of targeting of older persons living alone and of the most care-dependent older people.