Living arrangements, relationship to people in the household and admission to care homes for older people

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: to assess the separate contributions of marital status, living arrangements and the presence of children to subsequent admission to a care home.

Design and methods: a longitudinal study derived from the health card registration system and linked to the 2001 Census, comprising 28% of the Northern Ireland population was analysed using Cox regression to assess the likelihood of admission for 51,619 older people in the 6 years following the census. Cohort members’ age, sex, marital and health status and relationship to other household members were analysed.

Results: there were 2,138 care home admissions; a rate of 7.4 admissions per thousand person years. Those living alone had the highest likelihood of admission [hazard ratio (HR) compared with living with partner 1.66 (95% CI 1.48, 1.87)] but there was little difference between the never-married and the previously married. Living with children offered similar protection as living with a partner (HR 0.97; 95% CI 0.81, 1.16). The presence of children reduced admissions especially for married couples (HR 0.67 95% CI 0.54, 0.83; models adjusting for age, gender and health). Women were more likely to be admitted, though there were no gender differences for people living alone or those co-habiting with siblings.

Implications: presence of potential caregivers within the home, rather than those living elsewhere, is a major factor determining admission to care home. Further research should concentrate on the health and needs of these co-residents.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberafr031
Pages (from-to)358-363
Number of pages6
JournalAge and Ageing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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