The Impact of Comorbidity on Wealth Changes in Later Life

TitleThe Impact of Comorbidity on Wealth Changes in Later Life
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsKim, H, Lee, J
JournalJournals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Call Numbernewpubs20070125_Kim-Lee_JOG
KeywordsDemographics, Healthcare, Net Worth and Assets

Despite the high prevalence of comorbidity in later life, scientists do not fully understand its financial impact. The objective of this study was to enhance researchers' understanding of the impact of compounded health problems on the wealth of older people. Using data from the Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old study (1995 to 2002 waves), we conducted ordinary least squares regression analysis on wealth changes. We found that comorbidity leads to significant wealth depletion in later life, especially for single elders. Single elders with comorbidity depleted 20 to 22 of their wealth over a 2- to 3-year time period, especially those with the combination of heart disease and diabetes. The impact of comorbidity was disproportionately greater than the estimated impact of a single health problem. However, the impact of comorbidity did not appear to be significant among married people. We found that compounded health problems also create compounded financial problems in later life. For an accurate estimation of the financial consequences of health problems, it is important to consider comorbid health problems, as the effect of comorbidity is not equal to the sum of the effects of single health problems.

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Citation Key7104