Functional disability and receipt of informal care among Chinese adults living alone with cognitive impairment

Xiaoting Liu, Chenxi Li, Shuyi Jin, Xingqi Cao, Emiel O Hoogendijk, Ling Han, Xin Xu, Heather Allore, Qiushi Feng, Qiqi Zhang, Zuyun Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Adults with cognitive impairment are prone to living alone in large numbers but receive relatively little attention. This study aimed to evaluate whether living alone with cognitive impairment was associated with a higher burden of functional disability but lack of informal care. Methods: 982 observations of adults living alone with cognitive impairment and 50,695 observations of adults living with others and with normal cognition were identified from 4 waves (2011/2012, 2013, 2015, and 2018) of the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS). A matched comparator was selected using propensity score matching (1:2). Functional disability included disability in Activities of Daily Living (ADL), Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL), and mobility. The time of receiving informal care was measured in monthly hours. Results: Adults living alone with cognitive impairment demonstrated significantly higher odds ratio of ADL disability (OR = 1.59, 95 % CI: 1.30, 1.95), IADL disability (OR = 1.19, 95 % CI: 1.00, 1.44), mobility disability (OR = 1.38, 95 % CI: 1.12, 1.70), but received fewer hours of informal care (β = −127.7 h per month, standard error = 25.83, P < 0.001), compared to the adults living with others and with normal cognition. Conclusions: This study highlights the high burden of functional disability but low coverage of informal care among Chinese adults living alone with cognitive impairment and calls for more resources to be allocated to this vulnerable subpopulation to improve the functional health and to increase the provision of long-term care services.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112490
Pages (from-to)112490
JournalExperimental gerontology
Volume194
Early online date18 Jun 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jun 2024

Keywords

  • Cognition
  • Cohort study
  • Living alone
  • Long-term care
  • Propensity score matching

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