Socio-economic Impact of Social Ties on Community Care for Older Australians
Mounting pressure on government expenditure, from the needs of an ageing population, has led to the introduction of the Home and Community Care (HACC) programme, based upon the self-reliance principle. This programme may, however, disadvantage certain groups, as its success depends, in part on the informal support from family and friends. It is essential, therefore that we examine older Australians individual characteristics to help explain the levels of informal care and support presently available, as represented by the social network. Using a regression analysis of the information collected from 401 non-institutionalised older Gold Coast residents sampled in a household survey conducted in 1999, we test two hypotheses: 1. gender, education and household type explain levels of social network accessed by older people; 2. older males are more vulnerable than older females to the social network effect of living alone. Based on the findings of our study, we have concerns about the accessibility of the informal care and support (from family and friends) available for older men living alone as the level of the social network was the lowest for this group of older Australians.
School of Economics Discussion Papers