The positive trend in volunteering among the Dutch young old may in part be due to a relatively favorable disposition to volunteer. Using data from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, volunteering rates of 55-64 year olds in 1992 and 2002 were compared and associated with (among others) three types of dispositional factors: religious involvement, age-related engagement norms, and parental socialization. The recent cohort was less religiously involved, but more supportive of social engagement at older age, and more often had parents who volunteered, were religiously involved or higher educated. Multivariate analyses revealed that cohort differences were largely explained by cohort differences in educational level and religious involvement. It is concluded that their lower religious level suppresses the volunteering rate of the current young old. To compensate for the decline in religious young old, family and the broader society will become more important for stimulating volunteer work in the future.
Since the passage of United States (US)' Social Security Amendments in 1983, the age for full Social Security benefits has been increasing from age 65 to 67 depending on one's year of birth. These increases introduce incremental savings in the long-term funding of the US public pension system, but they assume that American workers will be able to continue working past the age of 65. In this study, we examine self-reported work disability for men and women using the 1997 through 2007 National Health Interview Surveys. There are small but significant decreases in work disability and fairly significant increases in labor force activity among men and women in their 60s and for women in their 50s over the 11-year period, and relatively little difference between men's and women's trends. Changes in the educational composition of the population play a major explanatory role in the decrease of work disability. Without this compositional shift, work disability would have increased. Increased obesity over this period exerted an opposite effect; without this change, the decrease in work disability would have been greater.
The goal of this research is to test whether often observed correlates of loneliness in older age are related to onset of loneliness longitudinally. Despite the increasing number of longitudinal studies, the investigation of factors that are related to onset of loneliness is still limited. Analyses are based on data of the TamELSA study, which is a population-based prospective study in Tampere, Finland and started in 1979. For the present study 469 older adults aged between 60 and 86 years at baseline, who were not lonely at baseline, were selected and followed-up in 1989, 1999 and 2006. During the 28 years of follow-up approximately one third (N = 178) of the study population developed feelings of loneliness. Logistic regression analyses indicated that losing a partner, reduced social activities, increased physical disabilities, increased feelings of low mood, uselessness and nervousness, rather than baseline characteristics, are related to enhanced feelings of loneliness at follow-up. The higher incidence of loneliness among women can be fully explained by the unequal distribution of risk factors among men and women (e.g., women more often become widowed). Our results are in line with the cognitive approach that conceptualizes loneliness as an unpleasant feeling due to a perceived discrepancy between the desired and the achieved level of social and personal resources.
This study aimed to identify the factors that have the greatest influence on UK social care and health sector professionals' certainty that an older person is being financially abused, their likelihood of intervention, and the type of action most likely to be taken. A factorial survey approach, applying a fractional factorial design, was used. Health and social care professionals (n = 152) viewed a single sample of 50 elder financial abuse case vignettes; the vignettes contained seven pieces of information (factors). Following multiple regression analysis, incremental F tests were used to compare the impact of each factor on judgements. Factors that had a significant influence on judgements of certainty that financial abuse was occurring included the older person's mental capacity and the nature of the financial problem suspected. Mental capacity accounted for more than twice the variance in likelihood of action than the type of financial problem. Participants from social care were more likely to act and chose more actions compared to health sector participants. The results are discussed in relation to a bystander intervention model. The impact of the older person's mental capacity on decision-making suggests the need for training to ensure action is also taken in cases where older people have full mental capacity and are being abused. Training also needs to highlight the more subtle types of financial abuse, the types that appear not to lead to certainty or action.
This research used data from a study on daily emotional experience in adulthood to examine the associations between age, emotion complexity, and emotion regulation. Data were drawn from a study of daily stress that included 239 participants ranging in age from 18 to 89 from North Central Florida. Two indicators of emotion complexity were considered: emotion differentiation and the co-occurrence of positive and negative affect. Emotion regulation was assessed in terms of individuals' likelihood of maintaining adaptive emotion states. There were no age differences in adults' co-occurrence of positive and negative emotions. In contrast to theories suggesting age would be associated with greater emotion complexity, the findings revealed that older adults had lower differentiation scores than younger adults. Age was also associated with more adaptive patterns of emotion regulation. Specifically, older adults persisted in low negative states and moved out of high negative states more readily than younger adults. Finally, neuroticism, self-concept incoherence, mean daily stress, and emotion complexity were associated with emotion regulation. Notably, adults who reported a greater mix of positive and negative affect moved out of high negative affect states more rapidly than adults with lower co-occurrence scores. This finding is in keeping with a growing body of work suggesting that positive affect promotes recovery from negative affect. Overall, the findings suggest that although emotion complexity is associated with emotion regulation, it does not appear to be a key factor underlying age differences in emotion regulation.
This study sought to identify the principal factors that predict forgone health care due to cost among European and Israeli older adults. The analysis applied the Andersen-Newman model of health service utilization to data from the first wave of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (n = 28,849). Relinquished health care was regressed on the predisposing characteristics, need factors and economic access attributes of the respondents, in general, and in each of 12 countries, in particular. The results showed that forgone health care due to cost occurs among a substantial minority of older adults. Moreover, relinquished care is associated with younger old age, greater health needs and perceived economic inadequacy. Although statistically significant in certain cases, country of residence does not constitute a robust predictor of health care relinquishment. Social policy should address the antecedents of forgone health care in order to more effectively meet the health needs of the older population.
This study draws on an evolutionary model of exchange in relationships to examine the nature of perceived reciprocity in the context of kin and non-kin relationships among a sample of visually impaired older adults (age 63-99). Further, we examined the direct and moderating impact of functional impairment and adaptation to visual impairment on the nature of perceived reciprocity. Results showed that the greater the degree of genetic relatedness the more imbalanced the exchange. It was also found that degree of adaptation to visual impairment moderated the association between genetic relatedness and perceived exchange, such that the greater the degree of genetic relatedness the more people reported they gave rather than received except at very low levels of adaptation, when people received more than they gave the greater the degree of genetic relatedness. Thus, an evolutionary model was supported such that imbalanced exchange was found more with greater degrees of genetic relatedness, but the direction of exchange was different for high versus low levels of adaptation to vision impairment.
The gendered division of domestic labor has been widely studied over the last three decades. However, older adults' contribution to housework, especially in patriarchal communities in the Middle East, has been largely overlooked. This article examined the participation of older members of the household in domestic labor in three communities in the outskirts of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. Drawing on a sample of 2,797 households, the results revealed that three salient factors seemed to have the major impact on older adults' participation in domestic labor; these were the presence of adult women (18-59 years old) in the household, the marital status and age of older adults. Older men's participation in domestic labor was much lower than that of older women, suggesting that a gender divide exists among older adults in the patriarchal setting of the study. Housework remains feminized in the later stage of life.
This study examined social inequalities in health in the second half of life. Data for empirical analyses came from the second wave of the German Ageing Survey (DEAS), an ongoing population-based, representative study of community dwelling persons living in Germany, aged 40-85 years (N = 2,787). Three different indicators for socioeconomic status (SES; education, income, financial assets as an indicator for wealth) and health (physical, functional and subjective health) were employed. It could be shown that SES was related to health in the second half of life: Less advantaged persons between 40 and 85 years of age had worse health than more advantaged persons. Age gradients varied between status indicators and health dimensions, but in general social inequalities in health were rather stable or increasing over age. The latter was observed for wealth-related absolute inequalities in physical and functional health. Only income-related differences in subjective health decreased at higher ages. The amount of social inequality in health as well as its development over age did not vary by gender and place of residence (East or West Germany). These results suggest that, in Germany, the influence of SES on health remains important throughout the second half of life.
Britain's oldest birth cohort study, the MRC National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD) provides data to explore life time influences on ageing. The latest data collection was undertaken between 2006 and 2011 when study members were aged 60-64 and consisted of postal and pre-assessment questionnaires to eligible study members, followed by invitation to attend one of six clinical research facilities (CRFs) across the UK for clinical assessments, and dietary diaries and activity monitors in the days following the CRF visit. The option of a home visit for clinical assessments was provided if the study member refused or was unable to attend the CRF. We examined response and attrition, here describing rates overall and for postal and clinical assessment modes of data collection, identifying socioeconomic and health-related predictors of response, and assessing the continued representativeness of the sample. In total, 2,661 (84 % of the target sample) responded. Lower educational attainment, lower childhood cognition and lifelong smoking independently predicted lower likelihood of both overall response and CRF cooperation. At 53 years, not owning one's home and not being married predicted lower likelihood of overall response whereas manual social class and obesity predicted lower likelihood of CRF cooperation. Providing for collection of biomedical data in the home and use of assessment instruments and modes to retain study members with lower education attainment, lower cognition and poorer health behaviours should be priorities for helping reduce attrition amongst vulnerable ageing study members.
The aim of this study was to examine the net balance of transfers between persons aged 50 and older and their family, taking into account both the exchange of money and the exchange of practical assistance (time). Toward this end, a unique net balance outcome measure was computed by costing the value of time transfers into wage equivalents. The study made use of data from the first wave of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), and focused upon intergenerational exchange in two specific countries: Germany and Israel. The descriptive findings show that-up to an age of about 80 years-the elderly are net providers of help. The outcome variable was next regressed on a set of relevant predictors identified in the literature on intergenerational transfers and support-among them, sociodemographic background, health, social policy, social network and motivation variables. Holding these variables constant, the balance pattern by age remains valid: respondents aged 50-79 in both settings contributed to their family more than they received. These trends in net transfer exchanges were largely similar across both countries and across regions or population groups within both countries. Women were more likely to have a positive net exchange balance and poorer health was associated with net receiving. However, differences also emerged: social capital was more clearly associated with a positive exchange balance in Israel, transfer motivations shaped transfer behaviors in Germany but not in Israel, and socioeconomic variables seemed to work in opposite directions in the two countries. In sum, the results underscore the generally positive contribution of older people to intergenerational exchange in the family. This outcome holds for both Germany and Israel despite their very different conditions of context.
This study seeks to explore the sources of strength giving rise to resilience among older people. Twenty-nine in-depth interviews were conducted with older people who receive long-term community care. The interviews were subjected to a thematic content analysis. The findings suggest that the main sources of strength identified among older people were constituted on three domains of analysis; the individual-, interactional and contextual domain. The individual domain refers to the qualities within older people and comprises of three sub-domains, namely beliefs about one's competence, efforts to exert control and the capacity to analyse and understand ones situation. Within these subdomains a variety of sources of strength were found like pride about ones personality, acceptance and openness about ones vulnerability, the anticipation on future losses, mastery by practising skills, the acceptance of help and support, having a balanced vision on life, not adapting the role of a victim and carpe-diem. The interactional domain is defined as the way older people cooperate and interact with others to achieve their personal goals. Sources of strength on this domain were empowering (in)formal relationships and the power of giving. Lastly, the contextual domain refers to a broader political-societal level and includes sources of strength like the accessibility of care, the availability of material resources and social policy. The three domains were found to be inherently linked to each other. The results can be used for the development of positive, proactive interventions aimed at helping older people build on the positive aspects of their lives.
With ageing, older people can become frail, and this has been shown to be associated with a decrease in well-being. Observational studies provide evidence of a positive effect of coping resources on well-being. The question is: can coping resources be improved in vulnerable older people? The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) is a target group-specific intervention which aims to promote the self-management of older people who are confronted with deteriorating health. The aim of this study was to review intervention studies focusing on the CDSMP and to draw conclusions on the benefits of the program. A systematic search was conducted in PubMed and PsychINFO to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) focusing on the CDSMP. Nine RCTs focusing on relatively young older adults, 75% of whom with an average age between 49 and 65 years, were included. We found that the CDSMP was consistently beneficial for Health behaviour, especially with regard to the variables of exercise and self-care. For Health status, the majority of studies only showed improvement in the domain of health distress. Most of the studies that investigated Self-efficacy showed convincing improvement in self-efficacy, cognitive symptom management and mental stress management. In Health care utilization, there was no significant decrease. On the whole, the studies showed that CDSMP led to an increase in physical exercise, a decrease in health distress, an improvement in self-care, and it had a beneficial effect on self-efficacy.
Loneliness concerns the subjective evaluation of the situation individuals are involved in, characterized either by a number of relationships with friends and colleagues which is smaller than is considered desirable (social loneliness), as well as situations where the intimacy in confidant relationships one wishes for has not been realized (emotional loneliness). To identify people who are lonely direct questions are not sufficient; loneliness scales are preferred. In this article, the quality of the three-item scale for emotional loneliness and the three-item scale for social loneliness has been investigated for use in the following countries participating in the United Nations "Generations and Gender Surveys": France, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Bulgaria, Georgia, and Japan. Sample sizes for the 7 countries varied between 8,158 and 12,828. Translations of the De Jong Gierveld loneliness scale have been tested using reliability and validity tests including a confirmatory factor analysis to test the two-dimensional structure of loneliness. Test outcomes indicated for each of the countries under investigation reliable and valid scales for emotional and social loneliness, respectively.
Utilization rates of non-psychiatric health services are often higher in depressed compared to non-depressed adults. We examine whether these differences can be explained by the increased prevalence or the increased impact of demographic, socioeconomic, geographic, and health-related factors. The sample was taken from The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (Wave 1 Release 2), a prospective observational study of 31,115 randomly selected people ages 50+ living in Austria, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Denmark, Greece, Switzerland, Belgium, and Israel. Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition methods for multivariate linear regression models were used to estimate the influence of prevalence and impact of covariates on utilization among depressed and non-depressed participants. We find robust evidence that the gap in utilization between depressed and non-depressed can be accounted for by both prevalence (explained) and impact (unexplained) differences. The prevalence effect accounted for 57.7% whereas differences in the impact of covariates between depressed and non-depressed persons explained 42.3% of differences in utilization rates. Despite cross-national differences in quality and coverage of health services, in all countries, the prevalence effect was explained entirely by health measures, including: chronic diseases, functional mobility, painful symptoms, and self-reported health. The impact effect varied cross-nationally, but was largely explained by socioeconomic status and urbanicity. Hospitalization among depressed adults was twice that of non-depressed adults. Policies aimed at improving adherence and improving disease management among depressed adults should be explored.
This study examined gender differences in the associations between affection- and status-related stressors encountered in the first half of life and physical and mental health problems later on. Based on the theory of Social Production Functions (SPF) two hypotheses have been formulated, which were tested in a representative sample of 446 men and 514 women (aged 40-79). Main outcome measures were number of chronic somatic diseases and level of psychological distress. As expected, regression analyses showed no gender differences in the associations between affection-related stressors and physical and mental health problems later on. In contrast, but as also expected, status-related stressors encountered in the first half of life were associated with later physical and mental health for men only. It is concluded that the gender differences in the associations between earlier social stressors and later health problems may be more complex than the common assumption that men are only affected by status stress and women only by affection stress. This study contributes to the knowledge on gender differences concerning the link between social stress and health, and it indicates that social experiences encountered earlier in life are of importance for being healthy and happy in later life.
This article discusses challenges of language differences in qualitative research, when participants and the main researcher have the same non-English native language and the non-English data lead to an English publication. Challenges of translation are discussed from the perspective that interpretation of meaning is the core of qualitative research. As translation is also an interpretive act, meaning may get lost in the translation process. Recommendations are suggested, aiming to contribute to the best possible representation and understanding of the interpreted experiences of the participants and thereby to the validity of qualitative research.
Older patients see their general practitioners (GPs) relatively often and so recognition of their preferences can lead to improvement of quality of care in general practice. This study aimed to identify which aspects of GPs' behaviour are the most important for older people in their assessment of the quality of their visits and to explore the application of Jung's taxonomy differentiating task and affective behaviour in this context. A qualitative approach to generating data was chosen. We conducted semi-structured interviews with a sample of 30 patients aged 65 and older using GP services in two demographically diverse big cities in Poland. Participants were interviewed in 2010 according to a pre-determined topic guide. This research showed that older people assess both 'task performance' and 'affective performance' behaviours of general practitioners. There were nearly twice as many patient comments concerning affective performance behaviour relative to task performance behaviour. Older people expect that their physicians will be demonstrably friendly, kind, able to joke and have enough time for the consultation.
The aim of this study was to explore how very old people consider and arrive at decisions on relocation, with specific attention
to housing and health relationships during the process of ageing. The sample included 13 very old participants of an 11-year
longitudinal study of relationships between housing and health. Applying a mixed-methods approach, data from qualitative interviews
and quantitative survey data from three data collection waves were utilised. The quantitative data were interwoven with the
qualitative findings into a coherent body of text. The core theme “Negotiating and effectuating relocation is a long process”
indicates a non-linear process consisting of five phases constituting the main categories of our findings. In the first phase,
some informants considered relocation while others avoided thinking about it. Next, relations between health and home changed
and led to turning points triggering relocation, i.e. when dependence in everyday activities reached critical points or when
sudden illness forced an involuntary move. In the third phase, once the decision to relocate was made it was set in stone
by the individual, but often questioned by the authorities, leading to a situation causing much frustration. While waiting
for the relocation, doubts as well as expectations about the new home were expressed. Finally, even though the actual move
caused different feelings, it was most often a positive experience and resulted in subjective health improvement and increased
social contacts. The results can be used for the development of positive, proactive strategies for improved housing provision
along the ageing process.
Self-rated health (SRH) is a multidimensional measure, predictive of morbidity and mortality. Comparative studies of determinants,
however, are rare due to a lack of comparable cross-national data. This paper contributes towards filling in this gap, using
data for persons aged 50 or higher in 11 European countries from the SHARE study (2004). The analysis aims at identifying
key elements composing SRH using multinomial logistic regression models. In addition, the homogeneity of associations across
populations is assessed. The findings indicate that education, depression, chronic conditions, mobility difficulties, somatic
symptoms and levels of physical activity constitute important components of SRH; ADLs and obesity, on the other hand, are
not significant and IADLs are important only in a few countries. All these associations point to the expected direction and
are homogeneous across countries. However, demographic factors, age and gender, though significant in many countries have
divergent associations. Effects of smoking also differentiate between southern and northern Europe.
As they approach retirement, Europeans in mid-life display a range of living arrangements and marital patterns. These configurations
influence labour force participation for men and women in different ways and these differences are accentuated between countries.
Using data from the first Wave (2004) of the Survey on Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), the paper examines
the relationship between living arrangements, marital patterns, family configurations and participation in the labour force
for the birth cohort of 1945–1954. The data show that the probability of being in paid employment was higher for respondents
living in a couple in northern Europe than in southern Europe. In all countries, men in a couple had significantly higher
employment rates than women in a couple, but employment rates of women in a couple differed significantly between countries.
Multivariate analysis with country effects confirmed the negative influence of age, poor health, lower levels of education
and household income on the probability of being in paid employment, but the effect of variables concerning living arrangements,
marital patterns and family configurations varied according to country. A multilevel analysis showed that the between country
variance of being in paid employment could not be explained by individual characteristics alone, that a large part of the
country variance could be explained by the country specific effect of women in a couple, and that the level of ‘modern’ life
styles in each country (rates of cohabitation outside marriage, divorce or separation and recomposed families) had a significant
effect on employment rates, especially for women in a couple.
Statistics Sweden has interviewed representative samples of the population annually since 1980. This study looks at ages 65–84
(n≈3,000 per year) and presents prevalence rates for functional ability (walking and running ability, vision and hearing,
and disability) for different age groups and for men and women. Prevalence rates of functional problems increase with age,
for all indicators and for men and women. With the exception of hearing, women have poorer function than men. Different function
indicators showed different trends over time. For example, vision (reading text) improved over the studied time period, while
hearing (a conversation between two or more people) showed a clear worsening over the time period. Seen over the entire time
period 1980–2005, mobility items (running, walking) and disability indicators showed improvement. However, figures suggested
that most of this improvement occurred during the 1980s and early 1990s. Regression analyses of the estimated trends up until
1996 show for the most part significant improvement, but this positive development seems to cease after 1996 and in some cases
there seems to be a significant upswing in problems. On other hand, for hearing, the negative trend of increased problems
seems to have been broken after 1996. Results emphasize the necessity to follow population trends over long periods of time
with multiple waves and multiple indicators.
Record life expectancy does not appear to be approaching its limit—it is still increasing, as is the maximum life span. An
important question is whether the longer life is accompanied by an increasing lifetime in good health. The aim of the study
was to determine the trends in health expectancy at age 65 in Denmark during the period 1987–2005, including the end of a
period of stagnation (until 1995) and the beginning of a new period with increasing life expectancy (after 1994). The study
was based on nationwide register data on mortality and data on health status from the Danish Health Interview Surveys carried
out in 1987, 1994, 2000, and 2005. Expected lifetime in various health states was estimated with Sullivan’s method. Life expectancy
at age 65 increased only after 1994 by almost 2years among men and by about 1year among women. The increase in expected
lifetime without long-standing, limiting illness, lifetime without functional limitations, and lifetime with self-rated good
health was all substantial in both genders (1.4–3years depending on gender and health indicator), and was followed by a decrease
in lifetime with the unhealthy state resulting in increasing proportions of lifetime in a healthy state. Overall, expected
lifetime in good health increased more than life expectancy in both genders during the second half of the period 1987–2005,
i.e. after the stagnation period.