A German-Israeli Comparison of Informal and Formal Service Use Among Aged 75+

Ralf Lottmann, Ariela Lowenstein, Ruth Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The paper focuses on filial norms and attitudes of older people about the care system of welfare states. It is a further investigation of the OASIS cross national study and examines three questions: First, what do older people in Israel and Germany consider to be the proper balance between the family and the welfare state regarding elder care? Second, what are the responsibilities of the family, the welfare state and other caregivers? Third, in what way do values, filial norms and personal resources relate to actual service use? The empirical data is based on information gathered from respondents living in Israel and Germany, aged 75+. The results of the study indicate that familial help has not been fully replaced by welfare state services. These findings support the complementary perspective. The results also show that most respondents favour a shared responsibility between the welfare state and the family. The findings indicate that familial norms are stable and strong as expressed by elders in both countries. The health situation is the main factor for receiving welfare services and familial help in Israel. In Germany the strong effect of living alone for receipt of welfare services underscores the influence of older adults' social and personal resources on actual service use. The article discusses the findings referring to the importance of a combined mix of the different sources of help for social policy implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-136
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1 Oasis (Old Age and Autonomy: The Role of Service Systems and Intergenerational Family Solidarity) was supported by the European Commission, 5th Framework, contract No. QLK-VY-1999-02182


  • Attitudes
  • Elders
  • Filial norms
  • Germany
  • Israel
  • Service use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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