Disability levels and correlates among older mobile home dwellers, an NHATS analysis

Tala M. Al-Rousan, M.D., Linda M. Rubenstein, Ph.D., Robert B. Wallace, M.D., M.Sc.
Disability and Health Journal
July 2015 Volume 8, Issue 3, Pages 363–371


Although remarkably understudied, manufactured or mobile homes are the housing choice for nearly 20 million Americans and little is known about the health of older persons living in mobile homes.


We sought to investigate disability levels and other health correlates among older adults living in mobile or manufactured homes compared to their counterparts living in other types of homes.


We sampled non-institutional adults aged 65 years or older (n = 7609), of whom 344 lived in mobile homes, from the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS).


Respondents living in mobile homes (average age = 75.1 years; SD = 0.5) had lower education and income and medical insurance than older adults living in other types of community residence (average age = 77.5 years; SD = 0.2). They were more likely to smoke, have lung and heart disease, and report fair or poor general health status. Mobile home dwellers reported more difficulty or inability in performing the following activities of daily living when compared to their counterparts: stooping and kneeling (64.9% vs 60.8%,p = 0.007), walking 6 blocks (46.5% vs 41.5%, p = 0.001), walking 3 blocks (37.7% vs 33.5%, p = 0.002), and climbing up to 20 stairs (39.2% vs 34.8%, p = 0.02). Among those reporting disability, mobile home dwellers had fewer bathroom safety modifications.


There is higher prevalence of chronic conditions, functional and cognitive impairment in older mobile home dwellers compared to older adults living in other types of housing.