Living arrangements of elderly adults: determinants of residential dependency

Pilar Zueras, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Marc Ajenjo, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

In the context of an increase in the number and proportion of old people, this study aims to chart the living arrangements of elderly people in Catalonia. We focus in particular on their residential independence, as well as on identifying the effect of health deterioration on residential dependency. The data come from the Catalan Survey of Health (ESCA 2006) and the individuals are a sample of people living in private households. Most people (44%) aged 65 and over are living with a partner only, 19% are living alone and, among those living with others –especially children–, only 12% are residentially dependent. But when we consider sex and age, we observe different patterns of living arrangements. Living arrangements of men and women are relatively similar at the early ages, but among those aged 80 and over the differences are very noticeable. The main differences are caused by widowhood. However, after controlling for marital status, sex differences in patterns of living arrangements become insignificant. Being married, being highly educated and living in urban municipalities seem to be protector factors against residential dependency. However, its proportion increases dramatically between the ages of 75 and 80, a key moment marked by an increase in widowhood and deterioration in health. Residential dependency is also associated with functional dependency in activities of daily living. In order to identify the determinants of residential dependency, we set a logistic regression model both with socio-demographic and health variables.

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Presented in Poster Session 1

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