The Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) is an ongoing longitudinal study of older adults in the Netherlands, which started in 1992. LASA is focused on the determinants, trajectories and consequences of physical, cognitive, emotional and social functioning. The study is based on a nationally representative sample of older adults aged 55 years and over. The findings of the LASA study have been reported in over 450 publications so far (see www.lasa-vu.nl). In this article we describe the background and the design of the LASA study, and provide an update of the methods. In addition, we provide a summary of the major findings from the period 2011-2015.
Cross-national comparisons employed welfare state classifications to explain differences in care use in the European older population. Yet these classifications do not cover all care-related societal characteristics and limit our understanding of which specific societal characteristics are most important. Using the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement (second wave, -), the effect of societal determinants relating to culture, welfare state context and socio-economic and demographic composition on informal and formal care use of older adults in European countries was studied. Multinomial multi-level regression analyses showed that, in addition to individual determinants, societal determinants are salient for understanding care use. In countries with fewer home-based services, less residential care, more informal care support and women working full time, older adults are more likely to receive informal care only. Older adults are more likely to receive only formal home care or a combination of formal and informal care in countries with more extensive welfare state arrangements (i.e. more home-based services, higher pension generosity), whereas the odds of receiving a combination of informal and formal care are also larger in countries that specify a legal obligation to care for parents. We tentatively conclude that the incorporation of societal determinants rather than commonly used welfare state classifications results in more understanding of the societal conditions that determine older adults' care use.KEY WORDS -informal and formal care use, cross-national comparison, welfare state, culture, demographic composition. IntroductionRapid population ageing has made older adults' care a major policy topic across Europe. In , approximately per cent of the European . These studies showed that variation in older adult's formal and informal care use between European countries is pervasive. On one side of the spectrum, in the Scandinavian countries as well as the Netherlands and Belgium, relatively many older adults receive formal home care, whether or not in combination with informal care. In contrast, in Mediterranean countries like Spain and Greece, and to a lesser extent, in Germany, many older adults receive informal care only. In Austria and France, the percentage of older adults receiving informal care only and formal care only are roughly equal and more often a combination of formal and informal care is used.Previous studies showed that cross-national variation in care use is only in part explained by older adults' individual characteristics (e.g. MotelKlingebiel, Tesch-Roemer and von Kondratowitz ; Pommer, Woittiez and Stevens ). Recently more attention has been devoted to the effects of societal conditions on older adults care use. Studies on intergenerational solidarity in Europe have shown that societal characteristics relating to culture and welfare state policies are important for explaining patterns of help between parents and children. In more familialistic cultures, for ...
The salience of nonkin relationships is likely to have increased due to societal changes, resulting in absence or delay of decline in later cohorts. The findings raise the need for a reevaluation of old age and the creation of new theoretical perspectives.
It has been widely recognised that poor health is one of the main barriers to participation in volunteer activities in older age. Therefore, it is crucial to examine the participation of older people in volunteering, especially those in poor health. Based on the resource theory of volunteering, the aim of this study is to better understand the correlates of volunteering among older people with different health statuses, namely those without health problems (neither multimorbidity nor disability), those with mild health problems (multimorbidity or disability), and those with severe health problems (multimorbidity and disability). Data were drawn from the fourth wave (2011-2012, release 1.1.1) of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, which includes European people aged 50 years or older. The results showed that variables linked to volunteering were generally similar regardless of health status, but some differences were nevertheless identified. For older people with mild or severe health problems, for instance, depressive symptoms were negatively associated with their involvement in volunteer activities. We found a positive association of being widowed (rather than married) with volunteering in older people with particularly poor health, whereas high income was associated with volunteering in the case of mild health problems only. These results demonstrate that variables associated with volunteer participation partially differ between older people depending on their health status. These differences should be considered by policy makers in their attempts to promote volunteering in older people, as a means of preventing their social exclusion.
This research investigates how a sense of belonging functions as protective mechanism against loneliness. Inspired by the work of Berry (1980) on acculturation strategies (i.e. integration, assimilation, separation and marginalization), we distinguish migrants who feel a relatively strong or weak sense of belonging to larger society and those who feel a strong or weak belonging to the “own group.” We expect that more national belonging contributes to less loneliness. We add a transnational perspective by arguing that feelings of belonging to the own group can take place in the country of settlement, but can also be transnational, i.e. a feeling of belonging to the country of origin. Transnational belonging can protect against loneliness, as it acknowledges the importance of place attachment. Using data from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam on older migrants aged 55–66, we employ latent class analysis and find five national belonging clusters, interpretable in terms of Berry’s acculturation strategies. Further analyses reveal mixed evidence: some aspects of transnational belonging vary with belonging to the own group, but other aspects point to a third dimension of belonging. Regression analysis shows that those marginalized are loneliest and that a transnational sense of belonging contributes to more loneliness. We conclude that Berry’s (1980) typology is useful for interpreting older migrants’ national belonging and that a transnational sense of belonging is apparent among older migrants, but needs to be explored further.
The increased salience of non-kin is reflected in an increase in received emotional and instrumental support in friend-focused networks in later birth cohorts. The preponderance of non-kin in networks should not be perceived as a deficit model for social relationships as restrictive networks are declining across birth cohorts.
This study investigates trends in, and the interdependence of, the use of informal and formal home care of community-dwelling older people over the last two decades in the context of governmental reform of long-term care services and modernisation of informal relationships. Seven observations of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam covering the time span between 1992 and 2012 were analysed using multi-level logistic regression analysis. The sample entailed 9,585 observations from 3,574 respondents, aged between 65 and 85 years and living independently at each time of measurement. Measures included formal and informal care use, health, physical and cognitive limitations, socio-demographics, partner status, social network, privately paid help and sense of mastery. Results showed that between 1992 and 2012, formal home-care use increased slightly while there was a large decrease in the use of informal care. Multivariate multi-level logistic regression analyses showed a substitution effect between formal and informal care use which decreased over time. Analyses also showed improved cognitive functioning, increased partner availability and social network size, as well as increased use of privately paid care over time. Nevertheless, these positive trends did not explain the large decrease in informal care use. The results regarding informal care use suggest a societal trend of weakened informal solidarity, reflecting increased individualisation and increased availability of formal home care. The decreased substitution effect suggests that, in agreement with current reforms of long-term care, complementary or supplementary forms of care use may be more common in the near future.
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