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J Gerontol. 1990 May;45(3):S95-101.

Functional capacity and living arrangements of unmarried elderly persons.

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  • 1Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research, Rutgers University.


This analysis employed the 1986 Longitudinal Study of Aging (LSOA) to examine the impact of functional capacity, gender, race and ethnicity, and various socioeconomic characteristics on changes in living arrangements among unmarried elderly persons over a two-year period. The results reveal that a decline in functional capacity greatly increases the likelihood that an elderly person will move in with others or become institutionalized. Nonetheless, even when they experience significant declines in health, most single elderly persons who were living alone at the initial interview continued to live alone two years later. Multivariate analyses show that women who suffer declines in functional capacity are somewhat less likely than men who experience declines to live alone at Time two. In contrast, Blacks who suffer declines are more likely than Whites who experience declines to continue living alone at follow-up.

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