Childless Elders in Assisted Living: Findings from the Maryland Assisted Living Study

April 10, 2013


  • Kate de Medeiros

We compared data drawn from a random sample of 399 current assisted living (AL) residents and a subsample of 222 newly admitted residents for two groups: childless AL residents and AL residents with children. The percentage of childless AL residents (26%) in our study was slightly higher than US population estimates of childless persons age 65 and over (20%). In the overall sample, the two groups differed significantly by age, race and women’s years of education. The childless group was slightly younger, had a higher percentage of African American residents, and had more years of education than the group with children. In the subsample, we looked at demographic, functional, financial and social characteristics and found that compared to residents with children, fewer childless residents had a dementia diagnosis, received visits from a relative while more paid less money per month for AL and reported having private insurance. As childlessness among older adults continues to increase, it will become increasingly important to understand how child status affects the need for and experience of long-term care.

J Hous Elderly, 27(1-2), 206–220. doi: 10.1080/02763893.2012.754823

Publication available online, subscription may be required.


  • Demographics
  • Families/Caregiving
  • Long-Term Care - Other