9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN01 Ageing in Europe

2009-09-05 13:30:00 2009-09-05 15:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 13:30 - 15:00 Formal Care Policies and Practise Building II, C5.06

Determinants of formal home care use: the influence of individual life circumstances and family context

The nature of the association between formal and informal care is hotly debated in the research literature. Most studies focus on differences between countries in informal care, and draws on cross-national patterns to determine the role of formal care in shaping intergenerational solidarity. Central questions are whether formal and informal care are substitutes, or rather complement one another. The evidence is largely indirect: direct measures of both formal and informal care are sparse. Furthermore, most data pertain to the aggregate level. Scholars using micro-level data on formal and informal care suggest that in most European countries the two forms of care are complements rather than substitutes. However, this research does not show under which conditions informal care becomes a viable alternative for formal care, and how changes in individuals? lives change these conditions. In this paper we determine to what extent formal and informal care are interrelated, and how the relationship between the two can best be described. As a measure of formal care we use formal home care registry data from the Netherlands which contain information on the type and intensity of care provided by the state. The registry data are then merged with survey data from the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study (NKPS). This combination of datasets provides us with the opportunity to test at the micro level how the availability of various types of family members and relationship quality with these persons affects the degree to which elderly people rely on formal home care. We furthermore determine how changes in the lives of the elderly such as health status, and changes in the availability or relationship with family members, affect formal home care use.