How Do Socioeconomic Factors Influence the Amount and Intensity of Service Utilization by Family Caregivers of Elderly Dependents?




In the course of demographic change, there is both a relative and an absolute increase in countries’ elderly population. Care and support needed by older dependent people are primarily provided by relatives or friends within the home environment. Family caregivers can be supported by specific services aiming to relieve their burden of care. The EUROFAMCARE project provides an overview of the situation of family caregivers of elderly dependents in Europe in terms of the existence, awareness, availability, use, and acceptance of support services. This article provides results of the German survey.


A total of 1,003 family caregivers were interviewed at home using a standardized questionnaire. Primary caregivers providing at least 4 h of personal care or support per week to a relative aged 65 years or older were included. Data analysis was based on a conditional inference-tree algorithm which embeds tree-structured regression models.


The family caregivers were 54 years on average (standard deviation (SD) = 13.4); 76 % of them were female. The dependent elderly were 80 years on average (SD = 8.3); 69 % of them were women. The number of used service units increased with higher educational status of family caregivers and/or higher perceived burden of care. Less-educated family caregivers with a lower negative impact tend to utilize services less frequently. Regarding the number of different services used, we found interactions between higher dependency and higher education as predictors for service utilization, independently from the intensity of perceived burden by higher educated caregivers. Perceived burden only interacts with lower education.


Policymakers can particularly address predisposing factors to support informal care structures. Increased service utilization is likely when available information and support services are more easily accessible. The potential advantages and benefits of services must be emphasized to increase service utilization by caregivers.


Europe Insurance Coverage Dementia Income Beach 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Lüdecke
    • 1
  • Eva Mnich
    • 1
  • Christopher Kofahl
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Psychosocial Medicine, Department of Medical SociologyUniversity Medical Center Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany

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