Introduction Ageing process brings people living with the physical and functional limitations and multiple chronic diseases, added to significant emotional aspects that increase order's demand of their social network.
Objective Analyze changes during the period of 6 years (2000–2006) in the social support network of older adults of Sao Paulo-Brazil.
Methods Data comes from a longitudinal survey—SABE (Health, Well-being and Ageing), which began in 2000 with a multistage clustered sample of 2143 people aged ≥60 years-old in Sao Paulo-Brazil. In the second wave 1115 elderly were re-interviewed. Associated factors were analysed in multinomial logistic regression.
Results Older adults refer more instrumental support at home and among their children. The support from outside the home of other relatives and friends showed present but fluctuates over time of the study. Physical and functional conditions, self-reported health were indicators of maintaining the exchange of support with all network over time but the worsening in these conditions was accompanied by more support available for elderly.
Conclusions The informal social support network is required only for instrumental support needs that are not served by the formal support network. The emotional aspects influencing independence and autonomy when they are not adequately considered.
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