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Information Reviewed: Disability and Living Arrangements Among Elderly American Men
Author(s): W.F. Stinner, Y. Byun, and L. Paita
Source: Research on Aging 12(3), 339-363
Date: 1990
Type: Journal article

Often, researchers studied elderly females' living arrangements because the women lived longer than men. This look at elderly men's housing found multiple disabilities increase a man's chance for living with adult relatives than if that man had one disability or none. Living with relatives lets the men maintain connected to their communities and keeps them out of institutions.

One way of looking at living with relatives is the privacy model, which is a preference for living independent of others. Caring for a relative with a disability would be undesirable for those with this mindset.

The assistance model, on the other hand, is a mindset that want to help a relative, with home sharing a form of assistance. In the characteristics model, several factors such as income, race, age, marital status, or employed children carry just as much weight as disability. A wealthier person, for instance, might be more likely to live alone. Or the greater the age, the more likelihood of living with a relative. Yet one more model--the buffering model--uses disability as an element that interacts with other statuses to determine chances of living with relatives or not.

Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Mature Men, a sample of more than 5,000 Americans, these researchers investigated how disability affects elderly men's living arrangements. They defined disability as having these characteristics: Inability to go outdoors without help from another, inability to use public transportation without help, and help needed with personal car.

They found that one of every four men lived with adult relatives. Disabled men were more likely to be living with relatives than non-disabled men. This was especially true if a man had more than one disability. Almost 38% of the men with one or more disabilities lived with adult relatives as compared with 28% of men with one disability and 25% without a disability.

Being black and being older also were associated with shared living arrangements. Black men were five times more likely to live with adult relatives than white men. Individual income did not seem to influence living arrangements nor did availability of living children. #547

Stinner, W. F., Byun, Y., & Paita, L. (1990). Disability and living arrangements among elderly American men. Research on Aging 12(3), 339-363.

Keyword: Housing

Reviewer: Cindy Higgins

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