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J Women Aging. 2003;15(2-3):107-26; discussion 185-7.

Transitions to supported environments in England and Wales among elderly widowed and divorced women: the changing balance between co-residence with family and institutional care.

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Age Concern Institute of Gerontology, King's College London, Waterloo Bridge Wing, Franklin-Wilkins Building, Waterloo Road, London SE1 9NN.


In this article we examine changes in the proportion of older widowed and divorced women in England and Wales moving from 'independent' to two kinds of 'supported' household--supported private households and institutions--during the decades 1971-81 and 1981-91. Our main aim was to see whether observed increases in institutionalisation over this period were the result of a decreased propensity to move to the households of relatives. We used the ONS Longitudinal Study, a record linkage study including individual level data from the 1971, 1981 and 1991 censuses of England and Wales. A multinomial logit model was used to investigate the correlates of transitions from independent to supported private households versus institutions among elderly widowed and divorced women. While the overall rate of transitions to join either supported private households or institutions was largely the same in the two decades, the balance between the two shifted markedly in favour of transitions to institutions. In terms of the limited range of covariates it was possible to consider, owner-occupiers were significantly more likely than tenants to move to supported private households than to institutions.

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