The Last Year of Life in Europe: Regional Variations in Functional Status and Sources of Support

Karsten Hank, University of Mannheim
Hendrik Juerges, University of Mannheim

Our paper provides an initial account of the life circumstances of older Europeans in the year prior to death, focusing on regional variations in functional limitations and sources of support. We analyze 523 end-of-life interviews, collected as part of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, using logistic regression. Functional limitations are spread fairly evenly across Northern, Central, and Southern Europe. Significant regional differences exist with regard to decedents’ main sources of support and location of death. Northern Europeans were least likely to receive help by their family only and most likely to be supported by non-kin. They also exhibited the highest risk to die in a nursing home. In Mediterranean countries, a pattern of exclusive family support and dying at home prevails. Our findings support the notion of a ‘mixed responsibility’ of families and welfare states as providers of support for the elderly.

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Presented in Session 17: Health and Dependency at Older Ages