Health Trajectories in Old Age: Paths into Care Dependency

Long-term care is a state of extreme physical, psychological and social vulnerability. Nursing needs arise as a result of the increasing incidence of chronic illness and functional deficits.

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Health Trajectories in Old Age: Paths into Care Dependency

Despite insights on health- and morbidity-related determinants of care dependency it’s still not clear at which focal point (risks vs. resources) the care needs occur. In particular the insights on the mental, social, behavioral and environmental impact onto the genesis of care needs is still fragmentary.

The particular of the project lies in the use of two different data sets. On the one hand longitudinal data of the German Ageing Survey, on the other hand firstly data files from the Medical Service of the Health Funds (MDK). The former allowto analyze trajectories in the genesis of functional health as proxy variable for the formation of care dependency. By means of the MDK-data factors can get analyzed that lead to care dependency - among declines of functional health also determinants like mental diseases (e.g., depression, dementia) as well as social parameters like contacts and networks that are also considered when classifying into a care degree since the invention of the new term on care dependency in 2017.

Objectives of the Study

The project follows two goals:

  1. Identification of factors that influence the trajectory of functional health (positively and negatively) in high ages and
  2. Identification of factors for the occurrence of care dependency. Central in this project is the question on which risk- and resources-constellations can be identified that are associated with the trajectory of functional health and the occurrence of care dependency.

The findings from the data sets lead to insights on paths into care dependency. The results are relevant for instance for the advancement of the nursing care insurance as on its base prevention and intervention actions can be developed.