Associations Between Use of Paid Help and Care Experiences Among Medicare-Medicaid Enrolled Older Adults With and Without Dementia

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2022 Dec 29;77(12):e216-e225. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbac072.


Objectives: Community-living older Medicare and Medicaid enrollees ("dual-enrollees") have high care needs and commonly receive paid and unpaid long-term services and supports (LTSS) to help with routine activities. Little is known about whether receiving paid help or individuals' state and neighborhood environmental context ("LTSS environment") relates to dual-enrollees' care experiences.

Methods: We examine a sample of n = 979 community-dwelling dual-enrollees with disabilities from 2011 to 2015 National Health and Aging Trends Study, linked to measures of neighborhood disadvantage and state Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) generosity. Logistic regression models stratified by dementia status assess associations between paid help and: (a) adverse consequences due to unmet care needs, and (b) participation restrictions in valued activities, among dual-enrollees with and without dementia, adjusting for individual and LTSS environmental characteristics.

Results: Use of paid help was greater for those with (versus without) dementia (46.9% vs. 37.8%). Neighborhood disadvantage was associated with greater use of paid help among dual-enrollees living with dementia. High state Medicaid HCBS generosity was associated with the use of paid help, regardless of dementia status. Dual-enrollees with dementia receiving paid help had higher odds of experiencing adverse consequences due to unmet need (adjusted odds ratio = 2.05; 95% confidence interval 1.16-3.61; p = .02)-no significant associations were observed for participation restrictions. Use of paid help and LTSS environment were not significantly associated with care experiences for dual-enrollees without dementia.

Discussion: Findings highlight the complexities of caring for dual-enrollees, particularly those with dementia, and emphasize the need to strengthen the delivery of paid care with considerations for the LTSS environment.

Keywords: Cognitive impairment; Home care; Social determinants of health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Dementia* / epidemiology
  • Dementia* / therapy
  • Home Care Services*
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • United States / epidemiology