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J Aging Soc Policy. 2003;15(1):33-53.

Effect of childlessness on nursing home and home health care use.

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US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Division of Disability, Aging, and Long-Term Care Policy, USA.


This study examines the likelihood of nursing home and home health care use for childless older Americans. Four research questions are addressed: (1) Are the childless elderly at a greater risk of nursing home and home health care use? (2) Is it childlessness per se or not having children with particular characteristics that affects the likelihood of using these formal long-term care services? (3) Does having additional children beyond the first one have a significant effect on the use of these services? (4) Are the effects of childlessness different on the likelihood of nursing home and home health care use? Longitudinal data from the first (1993) and second (1995) waves of the Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old Survey (AHEAD) and multinomial logistic regression models are used for the analyses. Separate models are developed for women and men, each controlling for a variety of demographic, socioeconomic, and health-related characteristics of sample persons. Findings indicate childlessness as an important risk factor, especially for older women's use of nursing home services. Implications of findings for planning for long-term care needs of the baby boom generation are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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