Racial Disparities in Mobility Device Use in Late-Life

Jennifer C. Cornman, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

This study investigates whether there is a difference by race in mobility device use; whether this difference is due to racial differences in rates of adoption and abandonment of devices; and to what extent racial and ethnic differences in need factors (functioning and chronic conditions) and enabling factors (income, assets, health insurance, and health care utilization) account for racial differences in mobility device use. We use the 2002 and 2004 waves of the Health and Retirement Study. Results indicate that minority elders are more likely than White elders to use mobility devices and that this difference is largely due to the fact that minorities are more likely to start using devices between 2002-2004 and are no different than Whites in rates of abandonment. Controlling for need and enabling factors explains some of the racial differences in mobility device use, but much of the racial difference in use remains unexplained.

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Presented in Poster Session 3