Longitudinal and reciprocal associations between financial strain, home characteristics and mobility in the National Health and Aging Trends Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Older adults need homes that suit their physical capacity. Financial strain may limit home repairs and modifications and prompt relocations; repairing, relocating or modifying may increase financial strain. Likewise, reciprocal relationships may exist between financial strain and home characteristics and mobility; financial strain and home characteristics may influence mobility and mobility declines may increase financial strain, limit home repairs and modifications and prompt relocations. We test cross-lagged associations between financial strain, home disorder, relocation, home modifications and mobility. Methods: In the National Health and Aging Trends Study, ability to complete a walking test, speed among those able to complete, financial strain, home disorder, relocating and modifying the home were recorded annually for 3 years (2012-2014). Structural equation models separately examined ability to walk and walking speed among those able, accounting for sociodemographic characteristics, social support, health prior health characteristics and autoregressive effects. Sampling weights accounted for the complex survey design and non-response over time. Results: In both models (n = 3234 and n = 2467), financial strain predicted greater home disorder and vice versa, but cross-lagged associations were not found with relocating and modifications. Greater home disorder predicted lower odds of ability to walk and slower speed among those able. Financial strain and home modifications predicted lower odds of ability to walk. Also, faster walking speed predicted lower odds of subsequent financial strain and lower subsequent home disorder scores and ability to walk predicted less subsequent home disorder and lower odds of relocating. Conclusions: Home disorder links financial strain with reduced mobility in a national sample of U.S. older adults. Cross-lagged associations between financial strain and home disorder and between home disorder and mobility suggest reciprocal effects that may accumulate over time. Also, financial strain, reduced mobility, relocations and modifications predicted greater home disorder. Together, these results highlight home disorder as a social determinant of mobility for older adults. Greater attention should be given to repairing and modifying home environments and supporting stable housing for older adults with financial strain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number338
JournalBMC geriatrics
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2 2019

Keywords

  • Financial strain
  • Housing
  • Mobility limitation
  • Socioeconomic factors
  • Walking speed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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