Determinants of informal care: on the different dynamics of informal care given inside and outside the household

Therese M. Jacobs, University of Antwerp
Benedicte De Koker, University of Antwerp
Edith Lodewijckx, Population and Family Study Centre, Brussels
Annelies Vanbrabant, Population and Family Study Centre, Brussels

Increased numbers of dependent oldest old urge policy makers and academics to “forecast” the future volume of informal care given in the household, the family network and the community. Knowledge of the determinants is necessary to develop sound estimations. To work out hypotheses on the prevalence of giving informal care, we organised a representative survey of 25-64 years old. Another dataset is representative of informal carers (25-79 years old) of very frail persons. This paper considers whether determinants of informal care operate differently in a coresidential and non-coresidential context. The expectation is that if a member of the household is in need of care, there is not much room for choice: one will provide as much care as needed. On the other hand, if a person not living in the household needs help, socio-demographic factors (e.g. gender, paid work) and household characteristics (e.g. the presence of children) can relieve people from their care responsibilities. Our analyses show that (1) neither the take up of coresidential nor non-coresidential care can be adequately explained by socio-demographic characteristics (gender, age, educational level, employment status,...) and household composition;(2) the intensity of care can better be grasped. As opposed to the hypothesis, socio-demographic characteristics also make a difference for the amount of co-residential care given. However, the way these determinants operate in both contexts is not always the same.

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Presented in Session 19: Demographic change and the family