Social and Built Environments Related to Cognitive Function of Older Adults: A Multi-Level Analysis Study in Taiwan

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Mar 10;18(6):2820. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18062820.


The purpose of this study was to examine the associations between cognitive function, the city's social environment, and individual characteristics of older adults. The individual data of older people were from the Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan 2013-2016. The participants who were aged 65 and above were included in the analysis (n = 1356). City-level data were obtained for twenty cities in Taiwan. The data of city-level indicators were from governmental open data and Taiwan's Age Friendly Environment Monitor Study. A multilevel mixed-effect model was applied in the analysis. Population density, median income, safety in the community, barrier-free sidewalks, high education rate of the population, low-income population rate, household income inequality, and elderly abuse rate were related to cognitive function in the bivariate analysis. When controlling for individual factors, the city's low-income population rate was still significantly related to lower cognitive function. In addition, the participants who were at younger age, had a higher education level, had a better financial satisfaction, had worse self-rated health, had higher numbers of disease, and had better physical function had better cognitive function. Social and built environments associated with cognitive function highlight the importance of income security and the age friendliness of the city for older adults. Income security for older people and age-friendly city policies are suggested.

Keywords: age friendly city; built environment; cognitive function; older adults; social environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Built Environment*
  • Cities
  • Cognition
  • Humans
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Social Environment*
  • Taiwan / epidemiology