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Social network and mobility improvement among older Europeans: the ambiguous role of family ties.


ABSTRACT: This study examined the social network correlates of improvement in lower extremity mobility among respondents aged 65 and older from the longitudinal sample of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe. The study focused on those who self-reported having difficulties with four lower extremity functions: (1) walking 100 m; (2) rising from a seated position; (3) climbing flights of steps; and (4) stooping, kneeling, or crouching. Multivariate logistic regression analyses revealed that social networks were variously associated with improvement in lower extremity function at the two-year follow-up. The findings suggest that under certain circumstances, a lack of social support in late life may actually promote mobility improvement. The research also shows that family networks are not always facilitative of mobility improvement. This is in contrast to previously published social network research positing that supportive relationships help foster health and buffer stressors in late life. Family caregivers and social services should keep this in mind when devising treatment plans upon discharge from the hospital and implementing care management plans for frail older persons in the community.

SUBMITTER: Litwin H 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5549127 | BioStudies | 2013-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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