Area of residence and admissions to care homes for older people: data linkage study of factors associated with entry to care

Dr Mark McCann and Dr Dermot O’Reilly

Research on admissions to care homes for older people has paid more attention to individual and social characteristics than to geographical factors. This presentation considers rural-urban differences in household composition and admission rates and presents key findings arising from this research. Data on 51,619 people aged 65 years or older at the time of the 2001 Census and not living in a care home, were drawn from a data linkage study based on 28% of the Northern Ireland population. Living alone was less common in rural areas; 25% of older people in rural areas lived with children compared to 18% in urban areas. Care home admission was more common in urban (4.7%) and intermediate (4.3%) areas than in rural areas (3.2%). Even after adjusting for age, sex, health and living arrangements, the rate of care home admission in rural areas was still only 75% of that in urban areas. People in rural areas experience better family support by living as part of two or three generation households. After accounting for this difference, older rural dwellers are less likely to enter care homes; suggesting that neighbours and relatives in rural areas provide more informal care; or that there may be differential deployment of formal home care services.

(Policy Briefing) (Presentation)

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