Latham, K., Clarke, P. J. & Pavela, G. (2015). Social relationships, gender and, recovery from mobility limitation among older Americans. Advanced access The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Social Sciences.
New coauthored research, forthcoming in the Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Social Sciences, highlights the role of social relationships for recovery from mobility limitation (i.e., difficulty walking) among older Americans. Additionally, this research explores whether the influence of social relationships on recovery varies by gender.
Highlights from this research include:
- Providing non-paid help to friends and family increased the odds of recovering from mobility limitation for both older men and women.
- Having relatives living nearby decreased the odds of complete recovery for older men and women.
- Partnered men were more likely to experience recovery relative to partnered women.
- Women who said that they did not visit friends in their neighborhood were the least likely to experience partial recovery compared with both men and women who visited friends and men who did not visit friends in the neighborhood.
This research underscores the potential for social relationships to facilitate recovery from mobility limitation. Interventions aimed at encouraging older adults with mobility limitation to visit neighborhoods and provide help to peers may improve functional health outcomes. Additionally, this research speaks to possible vulnerabilities among older women with limited social ties.