Behavioural Science Section
Social Resources and Longevity: Findings from the Georgia Centenarian StudyRandall G.K.a · Martin P.b · McDonald M.b · Poon L.W.c
aFamily and Consumer Sciences, Bradley University, Peoria, Ill., bIowa State University, Ames, Iowa, and cUniversity of Georgia, Athens, Ga., USA
G. Kevin Randall, MD
Family and Consumer Sciences, 05 Bradley Hall, Bradley University
1501 West Bradley Avenue
Peoria, IL 61625 (USA)
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Background: As the proportion of adults aged 85 and older increases, investigations of resources essential for adapting to the challenges of aging are required. Objective: To comprehensively investigate the social resources of cognitively intact centenarians participating in the Georgia Centenarian Study and the association between these resources and residence status. Methods: Two widely used measures of social resources were investigated among participants living in private homes, personal care facilities, and nursing homes. Logistic regression was used to determine significant predictors of nursing home residence. Results: Differences in levels of social resources were found between centenarians and octogenarians, and among centenarians in different living situations. Analyses revealed differential findings between self- and proxy reports. Controlling for education, activities of daily living, and financial ability to meet needs, only one of the two social resources measures significantly reduced the odds of nursing home residence. Conclusion: The findings of this study add to the existing literature on one of the basic adaptive resources (social resources) for centenarians. Whether a more specific assessment of network contact is employed, or a more global assessment is used, differences in these constructs exist between centenarians and octogenarians, among centenarians in differing living conditions, and across types of informants. Researchers examining the different resources that may contribute to extraordinary longevity and positive adaptation may find it essential to differentiate between the oldest old and centenarians, and to account for differences based upon measure, reporter type, and centenarian residence status.
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