Utilization of Formal and Informal Home Care: How Do Older Canadians’ Experiences Vary by Care Arrangements?

Yeonjung Lee, Rachel Barken, Ernest Gonzales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigates how the receipt of formal, informal, and/or a combination of both types of care at home relates to older adults’ perceived loneliness, life satisfaction, and day-to-day lives. Quantitative analyses using the Canadian Community Health Survey (n = 3,928) reveal that older adults who only received formal care reported lower levels of loneliness and higher levels of life satisfaction when compared with respondents who received informal or a blend of home care. Qualitative analyses of persons aged 65+ years receiving formal and informal home care in Ontario (n = 34) suggest that formal care bolstered care recipients’ autonomy and reduced their sense of being a burden on family. In turn, receiving formal care served to improve these older adults’ social connectedness and well-being. Findings underscore older adults’ symbolic, functional, and emotional attachment to formal care services, as well as the limitations of a reliance on informal support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-140
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • formal home care
  • informal support
  • life satisfaction
  • loneliness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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