The Society for Social Work and Research

2014 Annual Conference

January 15-19, 2014 I Grand Hyatt San Antonio I San Antonio, TX

Long-Term Care Needs Among Korean Baby Boomers: Informal Care, Self-Care Activities for Health Promotion, and Intention to Use Long-Term Care Facilities

Thursday, January 16, 2014: 2:00 PM
HBG Convention Center, Room 002B River Level (San Antonio, TX)
* noted as presenting author
Michin Hong, PhD, Adjunct instructor, University of Maryland at Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
Seunghye Hong, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Hawai`i, Honolulu, HI
Mee Hye Kim, phd, Professor, Ewha Woman's University, Seoul, South Korea
Purpose: South Korea is the one of the fastest aging countries. The number of older people would significantly grow as the baby boomer generation reaches age 65. According to Korean Statistic Information Service (KSI, 2012), the number of people aged 65 or older is projected to increase from 5.5 million (11.4%) in 2011 to 12.7 million (24%) by 2030. In dealing with long-term care (LTC) needs, Koreans showed a heavy reliance on informal care by adult children (Kim & Kim, 2004). However, changes in family structure such as decreased family size and increased female labor force, and loosened family ties in South Korea indicate reduced availability of informal care. Furthermore, given the increasing life expectancy, there has been a great emphasis on self-care for health promotion for successful aging. Thus, it is essential to investigate LTC needs of Korean Baby Boomers (KBB) that could be possibly different from those of the previous generation. This study aims to examine how availability of informal care and self-care activities for health promotion are associated with intention to use LTC facilities.

Methods: The data was extracted from a national interview survey in South Korea to investigate aging of KBB and pre-elderly populations. 903 baby boomers who were born between 1955 and 1963 and had a spouse were included in this study. A dependent variable is  intention to move to LTC facilities (yes/no). Independent variables include availability of informal care (number of children, relationship satisfaction with adult children, physical health of a spouse, and relationship satisfaction with a spouse), two aspects for self-care for health promotion (healthy life style and socializing), and demographic factors (age, sex, and education). Logistic regression was conducted using PASW 18.0.

Results: The average age of the respondents was 60.6 years (SD=2.8). Around half of the respondents (52%) were male. The majority of them completed more than a high school education (62.2%) and had a job (66%). 35% expressed their intention to use LTC facilities. The logistic regression model was significant (X2 = 62.638, p<.005). The results showed that age (B= .098, Exp (B) =1.103, p<.005), education (B=.265, Exp (B) =1.304, p=.008), physical health of a spouse (B=-.590, Exp (B) =.554, p<.005), and socializing of self-care activities for health promotion (B=.140, Exp (B) =1.150, p=.001) were significantly associated with intention to use LTC facilities. KBB who are older, have higher education, have a spouse with worse health, and have better self-care for socializing are more likely to intend to use LTC facilities.

Implications: This study offers insight on changing LTC needs of the new old generation in South Korea. In contrast to the previous generation who traditionally depended on their adult children for their LTC, KBB tend to have a reliance on spouses and LTC facilities. Moreover, findings on the association between self-care activities for socializing and use of LTC facilities may indicate KBB's expectations for social connectedness at LTC facilities. Policy makers and health care professionals need to consider such changes in designing LTC services for KBB.