Health and wellbeing in old age: the case of old men living alone

Kristian Park Frausing, Michael Smærup, Per Lindsø Larsen, Kirsten Maibom, Knud Juel, Karen Pallesgaard Munk

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftsartikelForskningpeer review

Abstract

As life expectancy increases and new family patterns are emerging in old age with a growing number of individuals living as singles, the number of old men living alone rises as well. Old men living alone are, however, often referred to as an at-risk group in the Danish health care system. The purpose of this article is to establish an overview of these men’s health and wellbeing. We do so by drawing on three sources: An online survey with health care professionals, data from a national self-report health study, and register-based data on health service utilization. The results show that old men living alone generally do worse than old men cohabiting and that among old men living alone lower educational level is associated with worse health but also greater use of free of charge health care services. Health care professionals doing preventive home visits consider the men’s social needs the most pronounced problem and call for new services custom made for these men. Differences between rural and urban areas and between singles, divorcees and widowers are discussed. It is concluded that health and social care systems must differentiate between subgroups of old men living alone when developing new services and that free of charge services such as general practitioners and home care should be considered as vehicles for addressing health inequities.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftAgeing & Society
ISSN0144-686X
StatusAccepteret/In press - jun. 2020

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