Life expectancy (LE) is increasing worldwide, while there is lack of information on how this affects older individuals’ use of formal home care services.
We aimed to decompose LE into years with and without home care services and estimate projected number of users towards 2050 in Norway for people 70 years or older.
This study is based on a sample of 25,536 participants aged 70 years and older in the Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT) survey 2 (1995–1997), 3 (2006–2008), or 4 (2017–2019) linked with national data on mortality. Prevalence of home care services was standardised to the Norwegian population by age and sex. The Sullivan method was used to estimate expected years with and without home help services and nursing services for the years 1995, 2006 and 2016. Data from HUNT4 and Statistics Norway were used to estimate projected use of these services between 2020 and 2050.
During 1995–2017, the use of home help services decreased from 22.6% to 6.2% (p < 0.001), and from 6.4% to 5.5% (p = 0.004) for home nursing services. Adjusted for age and sex, the use of home help services decreased significantly over time (p < 0.001), while home nursing services were stable (p = 0.69). LE at age 70 increased from 11.9 to 15.3 years in men (p < 0.05) during 1995–2017, and from 14.7 to 17.1 in women (p < 0.05). In the same period, the expected years receiving home help decreased from 2.6 to 1.1 in men (p < 0.05), and from 4.4 to 2.1 in women (p < 0.05). The expected years receiving home nursing increased from 0.6 to 0.9 in men (p < 0.05), and from 1.3 to 1.7 in women (p < 0.05). Projected numbers of people 70+ in Norway in need of either of these services were estimated to rise from 64,000 in 2020 to 160,000 in 2050.
While overall life expectancy increased, the expected years receiving home help have decreased and home nursing slightly increased among the Norwegian population aged 70 years and older during 1995–2017. However, the substantial increase in the projected number of older adults using home care services in the future is an alert for the current health care planners.