Family Resources and Cognitive Decline among the Elderly in Europe

Silvia Meggiolaro, Università di Padova
Stefano Mazzuco, Università di Padova
Fausta Ongaro, Università di Padova
Veronica Toffolutti, University of East Anglia

Family ties may play an important role in the wellbeing of the elderly. In this paper, we examine the association between living arrangements and cognitive decline among people over 65 in some European countries, the hypothesis being that living with others (i.e. children and/or spouse) vis –à- vis living alone may have positive effects on maintaining cognitive functioning. To this end we used data from the first two waves of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), which provides five indicators of cognitive functions: orientation, memory, recall, verbal fluency and numeracy. Cognitive decline is measured by considering the differences between the first and the second wave in each of these five indicators. Our evidence shows both country and ability effects, and some unexpected results. Future analyses examining the potential bias due to the “re-test effect” will provide further insights.

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Presented in Session 119: Social Relationships and Later-Life Health