Late-career unemployment and risk of frailty among older adults in Taiwan: An 8-year population-based cohort study

Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2021 Apr;21(4):353-358. doi: 10.1111/ggi.14136. Epub 2021 Feb 15.


Aim: To evaluate whether late-career unemployment is associated with increased physical frailty among older adults in Taiwan by the design of a population-based cohort study.

Methods: Data were retrieved from the Taiwan Longitudinal Study on Aging. The study examined data from the period 1999 to 2007. A total of 652 subjects were included in the final analysis, and they were categorized as normally employed or unemployed depending on their employment status in 1999. Frailty was defined using the Fried criteria. Multiple confounding factors were adjusted in a multilevel analysis.

Results: The average age of the participants in 1999 was 59.0 years. A total of 491 participants were normally employed, and 161 participants were unemployed. After adjustment for gender, age, level of education, income, marital status, and number of chronic diseases, late-career unemployment was associated with increased frailty [odds ratio (OR) = 1.61; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.00-2.59]. The risk of developing frailty was higher for participants who were unemployed during late career and had poor self-rated health [OR = 3.54; 95% CI = 1.37-9.20].

Conclusions: Late-career unemployment is associated with increased frailty, especially for those who also have poor self-rated health. Older adults should be encouraged to maintain normal employment during the later stages of their career before retirement. Employers should apply strategies to prevent possible late-career unemployment, and the government should provide resources and help to unemployed older workers so that they can minimize poor health outcomes in late life. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2021; 21: 353-358.

Keywords: elderly; frailty; late-career; unemployment.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Frailty*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Taiwan
  • Unemployment / statistics & numerical data*