Disability and Care Needs of Older Americans

Disability and Care Needs of Older Americans : An Analysis of the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study

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This report shows that late-life care needs are significant--nearly one-half of all adults in the United States over age 65, or 18 million people, have difficulty or receive help with daily activities. (This is for the total population over age 65, but disability increases with age. The percentage is lower for those aged 65-75 and higher for those over age 85.) At the same time, potential care networks among those receiving help are substantial--nearly 98% of older adults receiving help with daily activities have at least one close family member, household member, or close friend--and on average most older adults have four potential informal network members. Moreover, levels of informal assistance, primarily from family caregivers, are substantial not only for older adults in the community but also for those living in assisted living and other supportive care settings. Nearly all of those receiving help (irrespective of setting) receive informal care, and about three in ten receive some paid care. Those receiving assistance from paid, non-staff caregivers have especially high risk for adverse consequences related to unmet needs--nearly 60% had an adverse consequence in the last month. We also find a substantial proportion of the population--7% or nearly 3 million--receiving assistance with three or more self-care or mobility activities in settings other than nursing homes, exceeding the level of need typically associated with eligibility for benefits under either private insurance or public program eligibility. A disproportionate share of older persons at this level of assistance is in the lowest income quartile. Although publicly and privately paid care continues to be an important source of assistance to older adults with extensive needs, the higher level of adverse consequences linked to unmet need among those receiving paid care warrants further investigation. As individual preferences and public programs continue to support the shift of the locus of long-term care from nursing homes to the community and alternative residential care settings, a better understanding of unmet need can inform policies to promote safety and maximized functioning in the community and the well-being of older adults and their families.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 30 pages
  • 215.9 x 279.4 x 1.78mm | 127.01g
  • Createspace
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1508507538
  • 9781508507536