Disability and Care Needs of Older Americans: An Analysis of the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study. Assistance with Activities

04/29/2014

Table 3 presents a more detailed hierarchical measure that further describes the distribution of the population by type of assistance received. Overall, 28.7% or about 11 million older adults received help in the last month. The majority of this group received assistance with self-care or mobility-related activities or resided in a nursing home (7.7 million) and the remaining 3.3 million receive assistance only with household activities.

TABLE 3. Types of Assistance Received by Older Americans

Types of Assistance Received by Older Americans


Types of Assistance Received by Older Americans

Assistance Level%Number (millions)
Nursing home2.9%1.1
3+ Self-care or mobility activities (a)7.0%2.7
1-2 Self-care or mobility activities (a)10.3%3.9
Household activities (b)8.5%3.3
No assistance71.3%27.2

Table 4 shows the characteristics of the population receiving assistance, by level of assistance. The first column shows percentages for the nursing home population (representing 2.9% of the population) and all other columns include only those living outside of nursing homes (the remaining 97.1%).

Women are a disproportionate share of the nursing home population and of those receiving assistance with self-care or household activities. Blacks and Hispanics are over-represented in self-care assistance categories, and Blacks are also over-represented among nursing home residents. Widowed individuals and those with low incomes are over-represented among those receiving assistance. Less than 2% of individuals receiving no assistance are living in supportive care settings other than nursing homes, compared with 13% of those receiving assistance with 1-2 self-care or mobility activities and nearly 17% of those receiving assistance with three or more such activities.

TABLE 4. Characteristics of the Population Ages 65 and Older, by Level of Assistance (%)

  Nursing Home Population Non-Nursing Home Population
3+ Self-Care or Mobility Activitiesa 1-2 Self-Care or Mobility Activitiesa Household  Activitiesb Any Self-Care, Household Mobility, or Activitiesb Household Activityc No Assistance Total, Non-Nursing Home
Gender
Male 27.0 31.1 31.9 32.3  31.8 47.7 43.4
Female 73.0 68.9 68.1 67.7  68.2 52.3 56.6
Race
White, non-Hispanic 79.6 71.0 74.9 78.4  75.0 82.6 80.5
Black, non-Hispanic 12.0 11.6 10.2 8.7  10.1 7.4 8.1
Other, non-Hispanic 4.0 5.0 3.9 4.0  4.2 4.8 4.6
Hispanic 4.4 12.4 11.1 8.9  10.7 5.3 6.7
Marital status
Married/living with partner --- 42.1 47.0 40.7  43.6 61.9 57.0
Separated/divorced --- 8.7 11.4 12.9  11.1 12.7 12.2
Widowed --- 44.0 37.1 41.3  40.3 22.1 27.1
Never married --- 5.2 4.6 5.1  4.9 3.3 3.7
Income quartiles
1st (lowest) --- 43.6 37.1 36.2  38.6 18.4 23.8
2nd --- 29.6 28.7 28.3  28.8 22.6 24.3
3rd --- 17.1 20.3 21.2  19.7 29.3 26.7
4th (highest) --- 9.7 13.9 14.3  12.9 29.7 25.2
Residence type
Community 0.0 83.2 86.6 81.0  83.8 98.4 94.5
Supportive care setting other than
nursing home
0.0 16.8 13.4 19.0  16.2 1.6 5.5
Nursing home 100.0 n.a. n.a. n.a.  n.a. n.a. n.a.
Unweighted n 468 749 968 782  2499 5110 7609
 
SOURCE: 2011 NHATS.
NOTES:
a. Assistance with bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, getting out of bed, getting around inside one’s home or building, or leaving one’s home or building.
b. Assistance for health or functioning reasons with laundry, hot meals, shopping for personal items, paying bills/banking, handling medications (but not self-care, mobility, or household activities.
c. Assistance only with transportation, seeing the doctor, less frequent money matters, or health insurance matters, not necessarily related to health or functioning.

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