Informal care vs. formal services: changes in patterns of care over time

S Tennstedt
B Harrow
Sybil L. Crawford, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Document Type Article


Longitudinal data from a representative sample of community-residing older persons were used to document changes in patterns and costs of care, both informal and formal. It was found that use of formal services was usually in conjunction with, and secondary to, informal care. Limited availability of informal care as well as increased disability raised the odds of using services. Substitution of formal services for informal care was limited and usually temporary. Total costs of community care, including living expenses, were generally less than the cost of nursing home care.