Journal Article

Time-to-death patterns in markers of age and dependency

Riffe, T., Chung, P. H., Spijker, J., MacInnes, J.

Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, 14:2016, 229-254 (2017)


Keywords: USA, age, ageing, disability, health


We aim to determine the extent to which variables commonly used to describe health, well-being, and disability in old age vary primarily as a function of years lived (chronological age), years left (thanatological age), or as a function of both. We analyze data from the U.S. Health and Retirement Study to estimate chronological age and time-to-death patterns in 78 such variables.We describe results for the birth cohort 1915–1919 in the final 12 years of life. Our results show that most of the markers used to study well-being in old age vary along both the age and the timeto- death dimensions, but that some markers are exclusively a function of either time to death or chronological age, while other markers display different patterns in men and women.