Family proximity and relocations in older adulthood

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    The family remains one of the most important sources of support for older adults. Geographic proximity between family members has important implications for the growing demand for formal and informal care. As people age, their own and their family members’ residential (im)mobility may be a strategy to facilitate the exchange of care. Drawing on the full population register data from Norway and Sweden, this research addresses the following question: How are needs-related life circumstances of older people associated with their own and their relatives’ migration and immobility (including older adults’ moves into institutionalized care facilities)? The roles of a range of needs-related life circumstances of older adults in their own and their family members’ locational choice are documented: needs for formal care, severe health problems, the absence of core family members, or losing a partner recently. The overall answer to the research question is that older adults’ needs-related life circumstances deter intergenerational geographic divergence, and inspire moves toward adult children, siblings, and into institutionalized residential care. The results emphasize the importance of non-resident family members in migration and immobility both as a deterrent to moving into institutionalized care and elsewhere when family members live nearby and as an attraction to migrate toward clusters of relatives. The findings broadly suggest that even in Norway and Sweden where formal care services are available, the welfare state is far from “crowding out” the family from the sphere of care and the family plays an important role in the locational choices of older adults.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Mulder, Clara H., Supervisor
    • Gillespie, Brian, Co-supervisor
    Award date20-Jun-2022
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

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