Inequality in housing transitions during cognitive decline.

TitleInequality in housing transitions during cognitive decline.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsMawhorter, SL, Wilkie, RZ, Ailshire, JA
JournalPLoS One
ISSN Number1932-6203
KeywordsCaregivers, Cognitive Dysfunction, Dementia, Housing, Humans, Nursing homes, Quality of Life, United States

Independent living can become challenging for people experiencing cognitive decline. With reduced functioning and greater care needs, many people with dementia (PWD) may need to move to another home with better safety features, move to live closer to or with relatives who can provide care, or enter a nursing home. Housing plays a key role in supporting quality of life for both PWD and their caregivers, so the ability to move when needed is crucial for their well-being. Yet the substantial costs of moving, housing, and care mean that PWD with limited financial resources may be unable to afford moving, exacerbating inequalities between more and less advantaged PWD. Emerging qualitative research considers the housing choices of PWD and their caregivers, yet little is known on a broader scale about the housing transitions PWD actually make over the course of cognitive decline. Prior quantitative research focuses specifically on nursing home admissions; questions remain about how often PWD move to another home or move in with relatives. This study investigates socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in the timing and type of housing transitions among PWD in the United States, using Health and Retirement study data from 2002 through 2016. We find that over half of PWD move in the years around dementia onset (28% move once, and 28% move twice or more) while 44% remain in place. Examining various types of moves, 35% move to another home, 32% move into nursing homes, and 11% move in with relatives. We find disparities by educational attainment and race/ethnicity: more advantaged PWD are more likely to move to another home and more likely to enter a nursing home than less advantaged groups. This highlights the importance of providing support for PWD and their families to transition into different living arrangements as their housing needs change.

Citation Key13255
PubMed ID37043418
PubMed Central IDPMC10096249
Grant ListP30 AG066589 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States