Functioning, Forgetting, or Failing Health: Which Factors Are Associated With a Community-Based Move Among Older Adults?

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2016 Nov;71(6):1120-1130. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbv075. Epub 2015 Oct 8.


Objective: To examine whether the health and functioning of middle-aged and older adults are associated with an increased likelihood of community-based moves.

Method: Biennial data from adults aged 51 and older in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and discrete-time survival models were used to assess the likelihood of community-based moves from 2000 to 2010 as a function of 11 measures of health and functioning.

Results: Respondents diagnosed with heart disease, stroke, hypertension, lung disease, and psychiatric problems were more likely to move during the study period than those with no such diagnosis. Changes in activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living functioning, cognitive impairment, and falls were also related to a greater likelihood of moving during the study period. Cancer and diabetes were not related to overall moves, although diabetes was associated with an increased likelihood of local moves. For the most part, it was longstanding not recent diagnoses that were significantly related to the likelihood of moving.

Discussion: Although some health conditions precipitate moves among middle-aged and older adults, others do not. This work has important implications for understanding the role of different aspects of health and functioning in the likelihood of migration among older adults.

Keywords: Activities of daily living; Aging; Cognition; Health; Health and Retirement Study; Migration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Dynamics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology