Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Mobility Device Use in Late LifeBy Cornman, Jennifer C.; Freedman, Vicki A.; Journal of Gerontology: SOCIAL SCIENCES, Vol. 63B, No. 1, pp. S34-S41
Publication Date: 2008
Study investigated whether use by older individuals of mobility devices differs by race and ethnicity. The investigation was based on a 10,101-person sample including Black, White, and Hispanic community-dwelling adults aged 65 and older drawn from the 2002 and 2004 respondents to the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a longitudinal study of older adults sponsored by the National Institute on Aging. Racial and ethnic differences were examined in the use, adoption, and discontinuation of use of mobility devices in the context of personal care arrangements. Study results showed Blacks having the highest rates of using mobility devices, followed by Hispanics and then Whites. No racial or ethnic differences were found, however, in rates of discontinuing use. Minority elders had more functional need than Whites, had fewer economic resources and were more likely to be dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. Need and enabling factors seemed to fully account for differences between Black and White elders in the use of walkers and wheelchairs, but not canes. The higher rates of using personal care with mobility devices among minorities found were linked to higher rates of Medicaid coverage, which funds both formal care and mobility devices. The study concludes that, because minorities appear to be using mobility devices in proportion to underlying need, efforts to address racial/ethnic disparities in mobility disability in late life may need to focus on differences in underlying functional decline rather than the accommodation of it.
Published by: Gerontological Society of America (Website:http://www.geron.org)
Link to text: http://psychsoc.gerontologyjournals.org/cgi/content/full/63/1/S34