Quality of life of frail older adults living independently: the role of informal care and the living environment

Eva U. B. Kibele, University of Groningen
Aleid Brouwer, University of Groningen
George de Kam, University of Groningen
Anna Petra Nieboer, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Most older adults prefer staying in their familiar environment even when care needs arise, which requires that this environment facilitates independent living. Keeping older people’s quality of life at high levels can contribute to maintain the possibility to continue living independently. Objective of this research is to study how the quality of life of frail older adults living independently with care need is influenced by 1) informal care received and 2) the living environment. These factors are possibly intervention strategies to prevent or delay moves to care institutions. Quality of life of frail older adults living independently in the Netherlands is studied based on the TOPICS-MDS database. This database provides information about care receivers and care givers, stemming from samples of the general population and GP practices (N=3,971). Data is linked with spatial data on the social and physical living environment in the Dutch municipalities and postal codes. Determinants of quality of life are studied through multilevel regression models. The first level includes individual-level explanatory variables as well as information about informal care and the second level includes characteristics of the participants’ living environment. The study will give insights into how informal care and characteristics of the living environment next to individual factors determine quality of life. Policies to improve older people’s quality of life will be formulated.

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 Presented in Session 28. Health disparities and well-being at older ages