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Berry, Brent M., and John C. Henretta. "The Florida AHEAD Respondents: Characteristics of Florida's Elderly Population Aged Seventy and Over." AHEAD/HRS Report No. 96-039. July 1996.
This paper uses the first wave of data from the Asset and HEAlth Dynamics (AHEAD) Among the Oldest Old survey to compare the characteristics of the Florida oversample to the U.S. elderly population aged seventy and older. The goal of the AHEAD survey is to understand the interrelationship among changes and transitions in three major domains health, income and assets, and family transfers. Based on interviews of 8,223 respondents (1,088 Florida, 7,134 non-Florida), our comparison of Florida and non-Florida elderly indicates:
Florida elderly are generally healthier, less impaired, and have greater financial resources than non-Florida elderly. Particularly among the unmarried, Floridians have lower levels of physical and cognitive impairment and higher income and asset levels. Floridians expect to live longer and to give an inheritance, and not to need nursing care or receive financial help in the future. Impaired Floridians are more likely to be married and equally likely to receive some help in dealing with impairment. That help is more likely to come from a spouse rather than a child. Even among the impaired, Floridians have greater assets than non-Floridians.
The finding that unmarried Floridians are healthier and have more financial resources may suggest that the combination of widowhood, depletion of assets, absence of nearby children, and impairment triggers migration of elderly out of Florida or institutionalization. By following the migration patterns of respondents over time, future waves of AHEAD will provide the panel data needed to discern how important return migration and institutionalization are in shaping the characteristics of the Florida elderly population.