OBJECTIVES: Home- and community-based services (HCBS) help older adults remain living safely in their homes by delaying or preventing the need for institutionalization. This analysis is guided by the Andersen Behavioral Model of Health Services Use to examine the association between informal support and use of HCBS.
METHODS: Health and Retirement Study data from 2011 and 2012 are used in the bivariate analyses and multivariate logistic regression models to examine differences in HCBS utilization among extremely vulnerable older adults who have informal caregivers and those who do not.
RESULTS: For extremely vulnerable older adults who report difficulties with any instrumental or basic activities of daily living, use of HCBS is not strongly associated with access to informal caregivers. However, for this same population of extremely vulnerable older adults, those who live alone have roughly three times the odds of using any HCBS compared to those who do not live alone.
DISCUSSION: Among already vulnerable older adults, this study revealed that living alone is an important enabling factor of the Andersen model as applied in HCBS research. Further investigation is needed to see if more resources should be allocated to senior centers and local providers to identify vulnerable older adults who live alone and may have unmet needs.