Does Subsidized Long-Term Care at Home Improve Mental Health and Wellbeing? New Evidence on Causal Effects from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe

Ludovico Carrino , King's College London
Erica Reinhard, King's College London / Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam
Mauricio Avendano, King's College London / Harvard University

Ageing in place is a common approach in ageing policy, defined as being able to remain in the community with some level of independence, reducing the risk of residential care. In response, many countries have increased the provision of home-based care over residential care, but there is very little evidence on the impact of care at home on older people’s wellbeing. This study provides novel evidence on the causal effect of publically subsidized home-care on the mental health of older people. We use an instrumental variable approach that exploits heterogeneity in eligibility rules for public home-care in Europe. Our results show that receiving formal home-care significantly improves mental health, reducing risk-of-depression by 14 percentage points, as well as reducing loneliness and improving quality of life. Our results have important public policy implications and support calls for more inclusive eligibility criteria for home-based LTC.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 52. Mental Health of Older People