Caring for frail older people living alone in Italy: future housing solutions and responsibilities of family and public services
Data come from the study "Inclusive ageing in place” (IN-AGE), funded by Fondazione Cariplo (Italy), Grant N. 2017-0941, and regard a purposive sample of 120 individuals aged 65 years and over (males and females). It was a cross-sectional qualitative survey which in 2019 was conducted by face-to-face interviews to frail older people with functional/physical limitations, but without cognitive impairment, and living at home, alone or with a private personal care assistant (PCA), in three Italian Regions (Lombardy in the North, Marche in the Centre, and Calabria in the South). Both peripheral/degraded areas of urban sites and fragile rural locations were included, with regard to social and material vulnerability aspects (e.g. high presence of older people, high level of unemployment, low level of education, poor provision of services). The dataset regards in particular preference of participants on possible future housing solutions, and their opinion/orientation on care responsibilities of family and public services, also in the light of available/used care arrangements. A semi-structured interview was administered by expert interviewers. The issues were explored mainly with ad hoc open questions for the survey, adapted from previous studies. The difficulties in carrying out the activities of daily life were detected by administering the ADLs and IADLs scales. In order to provide the quantitative analysis (by means of Microsoft Excel 2019), qualitative dimensions were codified, in terms of absence/presence/frequency of the investigated aspects (e.g. help from the family and public services; possible future housing solutions, i.e., home, home with PCA, nursing home, cohabitation/proximity with children; caring responsibility. i.e., family, family and public service, public service). Regarding the level of physical limitations, four grades were provided, corresponding in turn to four levels of functional frailty (mild, moderate, high, very high). Moreover, socio-demographic dimensions are included. The verbatim transcriptions of the qualitative interviews are not publicly available due to privacy issues. Results showed that majority of seniors would like ageing at home, at least with a PCA, whereas moving to a nursing home is mainly a last chance. Also, they consider firstly the family as responsible of taking care of them, at least with the support of public services. In addition, some territorial differences emerged. An integrated model of LTC provision for older people, with both formal and informal supports, could allow ageing in place, with interventions based also on needs and preferences of both seniors and respective families. The dataset is provided in open format (Microsoft Excel) and includes the following: a “numeric” dataset regarding the un-labelled dimensions used for statistics elaboration; a codebook with the complete variables list and variables labels used.