WEDNESDAY, Sept. 8, 2021 (HealthDay News) — For adults with dementia and disability, the likelihood of receiving informal care is higher for those with greater family availability, while use of formal care is less likely, according to a study published in the September issue of Health Affairs.

HwaJung Choi, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined the correlation between the availability of family members and the type of care that is actually delivered to older adults with dementia in the United States.

The researchers found that among women versus men, non-Hispanic Blacks versus non-Hispanic Whites and people with lower versus higher socioeconomic status, spousal availability was significantly lower but adult child availability was higher. The likelihood of receiving informal care was increased and the likelihood of using formal care was decreased for adults with dementia and disability who have greater family availability. The predicted probability of moving to a nursing home during the subsequent two years was substantially lower for those with a co-resident adult child compared with those without a co-resident child but with at least one adult child living close and those with all children living far (11 percent versus 20 and 23 percent, respectively).

“The development of a care system that integrates informal with formal care has been considered essential for a sustainable health care system, especially one providing dementia care,” the authors write. “To develop such a system, policy makers should understand how the availability of spouses and adult children translates into actual care for adults with dementia.”

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