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Living arrangement and cognitive decline among older people in Europe



Family resources may play an important role in the wellbeing of older people. In this paper, we examine the association between living arrangement and cognitive decline among people over 65 living in different European countries. The underlined hypothesis is that living with others (i.e. spouse or/and children) vis-à-vis living alone may have a positive role in maintaining cognitive functioning, but also that such beneficial influence varies according to the circumstances. To this end, we used data from the first two waves of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), which provides indicators of several cognitive functions: orientation, immediate recall, delayed recall, verbal fluency and numeracy. Net of both the potential biases due to the selective attrition and the re-test effects, the evidence shows that the association between living arrangement and cognitive decline depends on the geographical area and on the starting level of cognitive function.


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Address for correspondence: Silvia Meggiolaro, Department of Statistical Sciences, University of Padova, Via C. Battisti, 241/43, 35123, Padova, Italy E-mail:


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