Home care for the elderly: the role of relatives, friends and neighbors
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We use data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe to examine the hours of home care received by the elderly. The existing empirical literature has mostly examined informal home care from children and formal home care. We identify two additional informal home care providers, namely, relatives (other than children) and friends (including neighbors) who provide about 30 % of the hours of informal home care. Our main new empirical finding is that single elderly persons who can rely less on children—and in particular daughters—for their home care receive not only more formal care but also more care from friends and neighbors. These findings suggest that policymakers need to take into account not only home care provision from children but also home care provision from friends and neighbors to obtain accurate projections concerning the increasing costs of formal care programs due to an aging population.
KeywordsInformal care System of equations Tobit model Aging
JEL ClassificationI38 J12 J14
We wish to thank Rob Alessie, Eric Bonsang, Bas van Groezen and the seminar participants at the International SHARE User Conference in Mainz, Germany, Utrecht School of Economics, University of Bologna, RWI Essen, Netspar annual workshop, and the London School of Economics (Workshop on the Future of Family Support for Older People and International Conference on Evidence-based Policy in Long Term Care) for valuable comments and discussion. Financial support has also been provided by Stichting Instituut GAK through the Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement (NETSPAR), the Tjalling Koopmans Institute (Utrecht University), the Short Stay Ph.D. Fellowship of Utrecht University and Farmafactoring Foundation.
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