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December 13, 1985

Why Do Elderly Migrate From High Altitudes?

Author Affiliations

New Britain, Conn

JAMA. 1985;254(22):3178. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360220040012

To the Editor.—  In the recent article, "Migration of the Elderly From High Altitudes in Colorado,"1 in the June 7 issue, statistical evidence shows that the elderly migrate from high-altitude areas to lower-altitude areas with increasing numbers as they get older. It is stated that two medical problems related to this migration are heart and lung disease and that many of these elderly people must travel up to 100 miles to see a medical specialist.I have some reservation as to the validity of the study. I am wondering whether these people "change their residence" because of their isolation and not because of the altitude. It is not clear to me whether these people migrate to be closer to specialized medical care, relatives, a warmer climate, or an urban environment. To be scientific about this article, you would have to do a similar study on the migration of elderly