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Who Do Centenarians Rely on for Support ? Findings from the Second Heidelberg Centenarian Study
Journal of Aging and Social Policy
This paper provides a detailed picture of the sources and types of informal support available to centenarians, depending on housing and care arrangements. Participants were 112 centenarians and 96 primary contacts of enrolled centenarians from the population-based Second Heidelberg Centenarian Study. Findings indicate that the children of centenarians were the primary source of support in daily life. Those without living children had overall less help. Most frequently reported was help with administrative tasks, regardless of centenarians' residency or living arrangement. Other types of help (e.g., with activities of daily living and housework) were all reported by about one third, and were mostly provided by children; centenarians without children were more likely to have friends/neighbors involved in some of these tasks. The one category reported by a third of the centenarians regardless of residence, living arrangements, or having a child, was help with socializing/companionship. Findings constitute an important step towards identifying and meeting the support needs of centenarians and their families. Policy implications are discussed.
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