Adult Children and the Risk of Nursing Home Admission following spousal Loss

Claire M. Noel-Miller, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Using panel data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), this paper examines the relationship between adult children’s availability and the risk of nursing home admission, following the death of a spouse, when reliance on adult children’s care-giving is greatest. Based on a life-course perspective, we follow married partners over time in order to investigate whether the effects of spousal loss on the risk of nursing home admission are smaller amongst those with living children. The paper examines the relative importance of children with particular gender, marital status and employment characteristics in buffering a widow(er)’s heightened risk of institutionalization. Preliminary results indicate that daughters buffer the increased risk of nursing home use amongst widows, but that sons, rather than daughters, reduce widower’s risk of institutionalization. Married and employed sons and daughters play a smaller role in reducing the risk of nursing home use once a parent has lost their spouse.

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Presented in Poster Session 3