This article analyzes the causal effects of informal care, mental health, and physical health on falls and other accidents (e.g., traffic accidents) among elderly people. We also examine if there are heterogeneous impacts on elderly of different gender, urban status, and past accident history.
To purge potential reversal causal effects, e.g., past accidents induce more future informal care, we use two-stage least squares to identify the impacts. We use longitudinal data from a representative national China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study of people aged 45 and older in China. A total of 3935 respondents with two-wave data are included in our study. Each respondent is interviewed to measure health status and report their accident history. Mental health is assessed using CES-D questions.
Our findings indicate that while informal care decreased the occurrence of accidents, poor health conditions increase the occurrence of accidents. We also find heterogeneous impacts on the occurrence of accidents, varying by gender, urban status, and past accident history.
Our findings suggest the following three policy implications. First, policy makers who aim to decrease accidents should take informal care of elders into account. Second, ease of birth policy and postponed retirement policy are urgently needed to meet the demands of informal care. Third, medical policies should attach great importance not only to physical health but also mental health of elderly parents especially for older people with accident history.