Gender differences in care home admission risk: partner's age explains the higher risk for women

McCann, M. , Donnelly, M. and O'Reilly, D. (2012) Gender differences in care home admission risk: partner's age explains the higher risk for women. Age and Ageing, 41(3), pp. 416-419. (doi:10.1093/ageing/afs022)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afs022

Abstract

Background: older women have a higher risk of care home admission than men, this difference remains even after accounting for variations in health. A likely reason for this is the difference in social support provided by spouses. Older men may provide less care for their wives than women do for their husbands.

Objectives: this study assessed two competing explanations for this. First, older men are less willing to undertake traditionally feminine caring roles; secondly, older men are less physically able to provide care.

Design: the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS), a representative (c28%) sample of the Northern Ireland population.

Findings: a total of 20,830 couples were followed over 6 years, with 415 care home admissions among NILS cohort members. Women had a higher admission risk after controlling for cohort members' age and health; however, there was no gender difference after adjusting for partner's age.

Conclusion: these results suggest that advanced age and physical frailty explain why men provide less care for their partners than women do; rather than being unwilling to undertake a caring role. The narrowing gap in life expectancy between men and women may have an effect on the future demand for formal care.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Donnelly, Mr Michael and Mccann, Dr Mark
Authors: McCann, M., Donnelly, M., and O'Reilly, D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO Unit
Journal Name:Age and Ageing
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0002-0729
ISSN (Online):1468-2834

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