Paid care provided in the home includes important support services for older adults with dementia such as cleaning and personal care assistance. By reducing unmet needs, these services could delay the transition to residential long-term care, but access may differ across racial groups. This study examined the relationship between paid care and transitioning out of the community among Black and White older adults with dementia.
Using data from 303 participants (29.4% Black) with probable dementia in the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study, competing risk hazards models estimated the association between receiving paid care at baseline and the probability of transitioning out of the community over 8 years (through 2019). Covariate selection was guided by the Andersen model of health care utilization.
Paid care was associated with lower risk of transitioning out of the community (subhazard ratios [SHR] = 0.70, 95% CI [0.50, 0.98]). This effect was similar after controlling for predisposing factors and most prominent after controlling for enabling and need for services factors (SHR = 0.65, 95% CI [0.44, 0.95]). There was no racial difference in the use of paid care despite evidence of greater care needs in Blacks. Furthermore, Black participants were less likely to transition out of the community than Whites.
Paid care services may help delay transitions out of the community. Future research should seek to explain racial differences in access to and/or preferences for home-based, community-based, and residential care.