To investigate the impact of different living arrangements on quality of life (QoL) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in the elderly.
We used data from the first to fourth wave of the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging. Using the first wave as a baseline, the data included 5050 individuals aged 60 years and older with at least one living child. QoL and HRQoL were measured using a visual analogue scale developed by the Korean Labor Institute that bears similarity to the EQ-VAS. Living arrangements were categorized based on household composition (single household, one-generation household, two-generation household, and three-generation household) and the marital status of a cohabiting adult child. A generalized estimating equation was used to examine the association between living arrangements and QoL/HRQoL.
Compared to elderly individuals living in three-generation families with a married child, those in a single household (QoL: β = −2.67 [P = 0.001]; HRQoL: β = −2.24 [P = 0.007]), those living in a three-generation family with an unmarried adult child (QoL: β = −5.19 [P < 0.0001]; HRQoL: β = −3.41 [P < 0.0001]), and those living in a two-generation family with an unmarried adult child (QoL: β = −2.88 [P < 0.0001]; HRQoL: β = −2.80 [P < 0.0001]) were more likely to have lower QoL and HRQoL. These associations were particularly strong for women and individuals in the lowest equivalent household income group.
It is necessary to devise government programs not only for elderly individuals living alone, but also for those living with an unmarried adult child; elderly persons who are female and part of the lowest equivalent household income group must receive particular attention.