Wellbeing at older ages: Towards an inclusive and multidimensional measure.

Academic Article


  • BACKGROUND: With population aging, there is a growing need to measure and monitor the wellbeing of older people, including older people with disabilities. OBJECTIVE: To estimate the extent of wellbeing for individuals age 60+ in the U.S. overall and across disability status, this paper develops a measure of wellbeing at older ages that is multidimensional and disability inclusive. METHODS: Rates of multidimensional wellbeing among American older adults overall and among older adults with disabilities were estimated using multivariate regression analysis and data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics matched with the 2013 Disability and Use of Time Supplement. Multidimensional wellbeing was defined as the simultaneous achievement of outcomes in five dimensions: material wellbeing, health status, personal activities, social connections/relationships, and economic security. RESULTS: Among all older adults, 33% experience multidimensional wellbeing. However, only 4-18% of older adults with disabilities experience wellbeing. Wellbeing varies across the dimensions of wellbeing for this subpopulation. Persons with disabilities experience as much wellbeing as persons without disabilities in terms of health insurance status and social connections/relationships. In contrast, for material wellbeing, health status and personal activities, older persons with disabilities less often experience wellbeing. DISCUSSION: This paper brings to light a disability gap in the experience of wellbeing among older adults in the U.S. There is a need for research which can inform the development of policies and practices that will enhance wellbeing for older people with disabilities, including material wellbeing, health and personal activities.
  • Authors

  • Mitra, Sophie
  • Brucker, Debra
  • Jajtner, Katie M
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • October 2020
  • Published In


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Capability approach
  • Disability
  • Disabled Persons
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Human development model
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Successful aging
  • United States
  • Wellbeing
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 100926
  • Volume

  • 13
  • Issue

  • 4