Sociology, Department of
Age of Migration Differentials in Life Expectancy With Cognitive Impairment: 20-Year Findings From the Hispanic-EPESE
Date of this Version
Garcia, Marc A., Joseph L. Saenz, Brian Downer, Chi-Tsun Chiu, Sunshine Rote and Rebeca Wong. 2018. "Age of Migration Differentials in Life Expectancy with Cognitive Impairment: 20-Year Findings from the Hispanic-Epese." The Gerontologist 58(5):894-903. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnx062.
Background and Objectives To examine differences in life expectancy with cognitive impairment among older Mexican adults according to nativity (U.S.-born/foreign-born) and among immigrants, age of migration to the United States.
Research Design and Methods This study employs 20 years of data from the Hispanic Established Populations for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly to estimate the proportion of life spent cognitively healthy and cognitively impaired prior to death among older Mexican adults residing in the southwestern United States. We combine age-specific mortality rates with age-specific prevalence of cognitive impairment, defined as a Mini-Mental Status Exam score of less than 21 points to calculate Sullivan-based life table models with and without cognitive impairment in later life.
Results Foreign-born Mexican immigrants have longer total life expectancy and comparable cognitive healthy life expectancy regardless of gender compared to U.S.-born Mexican-Americans. However, the foreign-born spend a greater number of years after age 65 with cognitive impairment relative to their U.S.-born counterparts. Furthermore, we document an advantage in life expectancy with cognitive impairment and proportion of years after age 65 cognitively healthy among mid-life immigrant men and women relative to early- and late-life migrants.
Discussion and Implications The relationship between nativity, age of migration, and life expectancy with cognitive impairment means that the foreign-born are in more need of support and time-intensive care in late life. This issue merits special attention to develop appropriate and targeted screening efforts that reduce cognitive decline for diverse subgroups of older Mexican-origin adults as they age.