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Help from spouse and from children among older people with functional limitations : comparison of England and Finland

Future increases in need of old-age care warrant research on receipt of informal care among older people in different policy and cultural contexts. Separating informal care into help provided by spouse and by children may shed more light on dynamics of informal help, important in alleviating the demands on the formal sector. Using nationally representative data from England and Finland, we performed logistic regression analyses to study receipt of help from spouse and children among community-dwelling persons aged 70+ years with functional limitations. In both countries, women and those with more functional limitations had higher odds of receiving spousal and filial help. In England – but not in Finland – those receiving formal public help had lower odds of receiving spousal help than those with no formal help. Those with low education received more filial help in England, but no association was found between formal and filial help. In Finland, the effect of education was not significant but those receiving formal help had higher odds of also receiving filial help. The results suggest that in a liberal market-led state, the role of children may be to help their parents living alone and with low financial resources. In the context of a generous welfare state, children may function more as active agents bridging the gap between their parents and formal services.

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Additional Titles
Ageing & Society

Key Information

Type of Reference
Jour
ISBN/ISSN
0144-686X
Resource Database
Hmic
Publication Year
2012
Issue Number
6
Volume Number
32
Start Page
905-33
Language
English