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The last year of life in Europe: regional variations in functional status and sources of support

  • KARSTEN HANK (a1) and HENDRIK JÜRGES (a2)

Abstract

This article aims to provide an initial account of the life circumstances of older people in 11 continental European countries during the year prior to their deaths. It focuses on regional variations in functional limitations and sources of support. Using logistic regression we analyse data from 523 end-of-life interviews in 2006–07, collected for the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (Wave 2) about the respondents who had died since the baseline data collection in 2004–05. The prevalence of functional limitations was found to be fairly consistent across Northern, Central and Southern Europe. Significant regional differences existed, however, with regard to the deceased respondents' main sources of support and the locations of their deaths. Northern Europeans were the least likely to receive help from their family only and the most likely to be supported by non-kin. They also exhibited the highest risk of dying in a nursing home. In Mediterranean countries, a pattern of exclusive family support and dying at home prevailed. The findings support the notion of a ‘mixed responsibility’ of families and welfare states as providers of support for older people in the last year of life.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Karsten Hank, University of Cologne, Institute of Sociology, Greinstr. 2, 50939 Cologne, Germany E-mail: hank@wiso.uni-koeln.de

References

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The last year of life in Europe: regional variations in functional status and sources of support

  • KARSTEN HANK (a1) and HENDRIK JÜRGES (a2)

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