The Effects of Health and Socioeconomic Status of the Elderly on Transitions in Living Arrangements in Taiwan

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In a society where the norm of filial piety is strongly emphasized, such as Taiwan, support for the elderly mainly takes the form of living with the older person’s children and family has been a source of protection for older Taiwan. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of socioeconomic status and health on the transitions in living arrangements among the elderly in Taiwan.

  Data came from the Survey of Health and Living Status of the Elderly in Taiwan, collected by the Center for Survey Research, Bureau of Health Promotion, Department of Health. It is longitudinal panel- design survey and the third (1996) and fifth (2003) waves of the survey were used for current study.

  The main findings include:

(1) In the baseline (1996), non-homeowner and elders with instrumental activities of daily living were associated with living alone. Elders with lower education levels, having chronic diseases and function limitations were more likely to move into an institution. Plus, over the study period (from 1996 to 2003), elders with lower education level, non-homeowner, poorer self-rated health and having function limitations were also more likely to die.

(2) In terms of the transitions of living arrangement between 1996 and 2003, we found that most of the elders had not changed their living arrangements. Only 332 elders (23%) had changed their living arrangements over the study period.

Key words: elder, living arrangement, socioeconomic status, health.