Number of Homebound Older Adults Up in 2020

Biggest increases seen among Black, Hispanic individuals, although they were less likely to be living alone

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 8, 2021 (HealthDay News) — In 2020, the proportion of community-dwelling, homebound older adults substantially increased, according to a research letter published online Aug. 23 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Claire K. Ankuda, M.D., from the Icahn School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues used data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (collected between May 1, 2011, and October 31, 2020) to assess the size and characteristics of the homebound population in the United States. The analysis included 10,785 individuals (≥70 years) observed a mean of 4.6 times over 10 years.

The researchers found that in 2020, an estimated 4.2 million adults (≥70 years) were homebound versus 1.6 million in 2019. The prevalence of being homebound in 2020 increased across race/ethnicity, but was greatest among Hispanic/Latino individuals (34.5 percent in 2020 versus 12.6 to 17.2 percent in prior years), followed by Black non-Hispanic individuals (22.6 percent versus 6.9 to 9.9 percent in prior years) and White non-Hispanic individuals (10.1 percent versus 3.7 to 6.0 percent in prior years). Compared with White respondents, Black and Hispanic/Latino homebound respondents were more likely to be receiving Medicaid and to report fair or poor health. More homebound White respondents lived alone (43.7 percent) compared with Black and Hispanic/Latino respondents (28.9 percent and 26.8 percent, respectively). More than one-quarter of the respondents (27.8 percent) did not have a cellphone, while more than half did not have a computer (50.8 percent) and 52.0 percent had not used email or text in the last month.

“We are greatly concerned about all of our patients who are both homebound and poorly connected, particularly among Hispanic populations in light of their higher levels of poor health and self-reported anxiety and depression,” Ankuda said in a statement.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the health care industry.

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