Panel Paper: Functional Disability and Informal Care for Older Adults in Mexico

Thursday, July 19, 2018
Building 5, Sala Maestros Lower (ITAM)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Mariana Lopez-Ortega, INGER- National Institute of Geriatrics


Mexico is experiencing a fast ageing process with an increase in the number of older adults with disability. This process is taking place in the midst of changing intergenerational relations, constricting access to health care and no formal publicly funded long-term care programs.

Data and methods

We use the Mexican Health and Aging Study, a prospective panel study of 15,230 respondents 50 years and older at baseline in 2001. Descriptive statistics, random-effects and conditional fixed-effects logistic regression models are used to compare informal assistance across periods and to identify factors associated with unmet needs.


Older age (OR=1.04, 95% CI 1.03-1.05), being female (OR=1.31, 95% CI 1.08-1.58) and having a large number of ADL disabilities (OR =2.30, 95% CI 2.14-2.48) are positively associated with receiving informal care. Older adults with ADL who are separated and divorced and those with IADL who are single are more likely to have unmet needs.


This study presents relevant information on the main factors that drive care for older adults in Mexico. In a context of rapid aging population and lack of formal publicly-funded long-term care strategies, it is clear that specific programs or strategies should be developed in order to support caregiving. The fact that disability has strong effects on receiving informal care seems to give institutions a chance to work more aggressively in preventing or reversing disability when possible, for example with rehabilitation services, and therefore reducing the burden of care while improving older adults’ quality of life.