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Who cares? A comparison of informal and formal care provision in Spain, England and the USA

  • AÏDA SOLÉ-AURÓ (a1) (a2) and EILEEN M. CRIMMINS (a2)

This paper investigates the prevalence of incapacity in performing daily activities and the associations between household composition and availability of family members and receipt of care among older adults with functioning problems in Spain, England and the United States of America (USA). We examine how living arrangements, marital status, child availability, limitations in functioning ability, age and gender affect the probability of receiving formal care and informal care from household members and from others in three countries with different family structures, living arrangements and policies supporting care of the incapacitated. Data sources include the 2006 Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe for Spain, the third wave of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (2006), and the eighth wave of the USA Health and Retirement Study (2006). Logistic and multinomial logistic regressions are used to estimate the probability of receiving care and the sources of care among persons age 50 and older. The percentage of people with functional limitations receiving care is higher in Spain. More care comes from outside the household in the USA and England than in Spain. The use of formal care among the incapacitated is lowest in the USA and highest in Spain.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Aïda Solé-Auró, Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center, University of Southern California, 3715 McClintock Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0191, USA. E-mail:
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Ageing & Society
  • ISSN: 0144-686X
  • EISSN: 1469-1779
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