Background: The living arrangement has been suggested as an important factor affecting health. Recent studies have also suggested that there was a risk among elderly persons who were not alone. This study examined whether the detailed living arrangement was associated with a future decline in functional capacity in the elderly, by gender, in a Japanese suburban city. Methods: A 3-year longitudinal questionnaire survey (baseline: 2011; follow-up: 2014) for aged 65 years or older was conducted in Kurihara city, Japan. Of the respondents in the baseline survey, we analyzed those who scored 13 points (a perfect score which indicates the highest functional capacity; n = 2627) on the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology Index of Competence at the baseline. The exposure was living arrangement at baseline, divided into five categories: "with spouse only," "living alone," "with child and his/her spouse," "with child without his/her spouse," and "with other family/person." The outcome was the decline in functional capacity at the follow-up survey (score decreased to 10 points or less from 13 points). Results: Of the 2627 analyzed population, 1199 (45.6%) were men. The incidence of the decline was 5.8% in men and 5.9% in women. Multivariable logistic regression analyses adjusted for age, educational attainment, and health behavior and condition revealed that in women, the odds ratio of the decline was higher in living with child and his/her spouse (2.41, 95% confidence interval; 1.10-5.28) referring to living with spouse only. When adjusting activities inside and outside the home such as housework additionally, the association was attenuated to marginal significance (2.25, 0.98-5.18). No statistical significance was observed in men. Conclusions: These results suggested that living with child and spouse of a child was associated with the future decline in women's functional capacity.
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