Low Exposure to Home- and Community-Based Services Among U.S. Adults

Cause for Concern?

Published in: Journal of Applied Gerontology (2022). doi: 10.1177/07334648221131466

Posted on RAND.org on October 11, 2022

by Daniel Siconolfi, Emma Thomas, Emily K. Chen, Esther M. Friedman, Regina A. Shih

Home- and community-based services (HCBS) facilitate community living for older adults and persons with disabilities, but limited awareness of HCBS is a significant barrier to access. Social exposure is one potential conduit for HCBS knowledge. To understand the general population's social exposure to HCBS—that is, knowing someone who has used HCBS (including one's self)—we fielded a survey item with a nationally representative panel of U.S. adults. An estimated 53% of U.S. adults reported not knowing anyone who had used HCBS. Exposure rates were low across specific HCBS types (6%–28%). Women had greater exposure than men for eight of the 11 HCBS. We also found differences by age, racial/ethnic identity, rurality, education, and income. Increasing the general public's awareness of HCBS may facilitate access when services are needed, enhance readiness for aging in place, and increase the visibility and inclusion of older adults, persons with disabilities, and caregivers.

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