Aim: The aim of this study was to examine the effects of trajectories of physical function on later long-term care utilization based on longitudinal panel data of older adults. Methods: A representative longitudinal sample of older adults during the years 1993 to 2007 was used (n=1232). Trajectories of physical function from 1993 to 2007 were identified by group-based trajectory analysis, and then the relationships of the past trajectories with the use of nursing homes and care assistants, and the amount of utilization used in 2007 were examined. Results: Four groups of physical function difficulties trajectories were identified: none (38.8%), little (34.1%), late increasing (16.1%) and early increasing (11.0%). The early- and late-increasing difficulty groups were more likely to use and used more nursing homes and care assistants. In particular, a long-term disability is closely related to a larger probability of using nursing homes than using care assistants at home. The utilization of care assistants seems a priority choice at the early-increasing stage of disability. When the disability worsens and lasts a long time, a nursing home is then the next choice. Conclusion: Past physical function trajectories relate to later long-term care utilization. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2013; 13: 751-758.
ASJC Scopus subject areas