Life-Space Predicts Health Care Utilization in Community-Dwelling Older Adults

Academic Article


  • Objective: To determine whether decline in life-space mobility predicts increased health care utilization among community-dwelling older adults. Method: Health care utilization (number of emergency department [ED] visits and hospitalizations) was self-reported during monthly interviews among 419 community-dwelling African American and non-Hispanic White adults aged 75 years and older in The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Study of Aging II. Life-space was measured using the UAB Life-Space Assessment. Generalized estimating equations were used to examine associations of life-space at the beginning of each interval with health care utilization over the 1-month interval. Results: Overall, 400 participants were followed for 36 months. A 10-point decrease in life-space was associated with 14% increased odds of an ED visit and/or hospitalization over the next month, adjusting for demographics, transportation difficulty, comorbidity, and having a doctor visit in the last month. Discussion: Life-space is a practical alternative in predicting future health care utilization to performance-based measures, which can be difficult to incorporate into clinical or public health practice.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kennedy RE; Williams CP; Sawyer P; Lo AX; Connelly K; Nassel A; Brown CJ
  • Start Page

  • 280
  • End Page

  • 292
  • Volume

  • 31
  • Issue

  • 2