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01.12.2008 | Original Investigation | Ausgabe 4/2008

European Journal of Ageing 4/2008

Determinants of home-based formal help in community-dwelling older people in Finland

European Journal of Ageing > Ausgabe 4/2008
Jenni Blomgren, Pekka Martikainen, Tuija Martelin, Seppo Koskinen


Knowledge of the determinants of use of formal home-based services among older people is of particular importance for predicting the need for and cost of care in the future. The aim of this study was to estimate the frequency of formal and informal help among community-dwelling older people and to assess the determinants of home-based formal help, with a special emphasis on the frequency of help from spouse, from children and other relatives and friends. We used nationally representative cross-sectional data from 1,166 community-dwelling Finnish persons aged 70–99. Determinants of formal help were assessed with logistic regression models. Receiving formal help was most strongly related to need factors such as age and functional capacity. Adjusted for need factors, receiving help from spouse or living with someone else than the spouse decreased the odds of receiving formal help. In contrast, the more frequently the children helped, the larger were the odds of receiving formal home-based help. Help from other informal sources did not affect receipt of formal help. Our results thus suggest that intra-household help from spouse or from other co-residents may partly offset expected cost increases in the formal care sector brought about by an aging population. The results further suggest that help from children and help from formal sources is likely to be concomitant and that children may act as agents seeking formal help also in a welfare state based on the universal and equal care services.

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