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Late-Life Relocation and Network Turnover: How Distance Moved and Health Link to the Social Convoy

Sun, August 12, 8:30 to 10:10am, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Floor: Level 4, 412

Abstract

Life course transitions among older adults often produce a reshuffling of social network members. Moving is a common experience for U.S. seniors, but relatively little is known about how core networks change amidst the relocation process. Drawing on longitudinal data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP), the present study examines how late-life moving is associated with changes to network size and the loss and gain of particular network members. We find that when older adults undertake a long-distance move, they tend to add more family to their core network—yet this is moderated by their initial level of functional health. Long-distance moves are also associated with losing non-kin members from the core network. These empirical patterns are interpreted in light of developmental perspectives on late-life relocation, continuity theory, and the social convoy model. We also note how the relocation process can bring about distinct network-related advantages and challenges for older adults.

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