Living arrangements, coresidence preference, and mortality risk among older Taiwanese
PurposeAlthough coresidence with children when one becomes old is an ideal in Chinese society, the drastic socio-economic development in Taiwan has brought some fundamental changes to living arrangements of the elderly population. The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between family living arrangements and elderly health in Taiwan, given the secular trend of more elderly persons choosing to live with their spouse or to live independently.Design/methodology/approachThe authors utilized panel data from the “1989 Survey of Health and Living Status of the Elderly in Taiwan” with follow-ups up to 2007 to examine how living arrangements of the elderly affect the risk of mortality using discrete-time hazard models. The authors stratified the analyses by the elderly’s preference to coreside with children, and examined whether the effects of living arrangement varied by age, controlling for sociodemographics, health status, health behaviors, and social relationships observed at the baseline.FindingsThe authors found that both the associations of living arrangements and coresidence preference with that mortality risk were largely weakened when controlling for other variables. Only among respondents expressing preference for coresidence were living arrangements associated with mortality risks, and these effects increased with age. For those who did not intend to live with children, the authors found no evidence suggesting living arrangements were associated with mortality risks. The dynamics of living arrangements among the elderly and elderly care policies in Taiwan are discussed for further research.Originality/valueTo the authors knowledge, no previous research has examined living arrangements and mortality risks with respect to coresidence preference.