Life-Space Predicts Health Care Utilization in Community-Dwelling Older Adults

Richard E. Kennedy*, Courtney P. Williams, Patricia Sawyer, Alexander X. Lo, Kay Connelly, Ariann Nassel, Cynthia J. Brown

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether decline in life-space mobility predicts increased health care utilization among community-dwelling older adults. Method: Health care utilization (number of emergency department [ED] visits and hospitalizations) was self-reported during monthly interviews among 419 community-dwelling African American and non-Hispanic White adults aged 75 years and older in The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Study of Aging II. Life-space was measured using the UAB Life-Space Assessment. Generalized estimating equations were used to examine associations of life-space at the beginning of each interval with health care utilization over the 1-month interval. Results: Overall, 400 participants were followed for 36 months. A 10-point decrease in life-space was associated with 14% increased odds of an ED visit and/or hospitalization over the next month, adjusting for demographics, transportation difficulty, comorbidity, and having a doctor visit in the last month. Discussion: Life-space is a practical alternative in predicting future health care utilization to performance-based measures, which can be difficult to incorporate into clinical or public health practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-292
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of aging and health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • health care utilization
  • life-space
  • mobility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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