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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2009 Dec;64(12):1333-6. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glp130. Epub 2009 Sep 1.

Basic ADL disability and functional limitation rates among older AMERICANS from 2000-2005: the end of the decline?

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  • 1Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



This study sought to determine whether the rates of basic activities of daily living (ADL) disabilities and functional limitations declined, remained the same, or increased between 2000 and 2005 when (a) only community-dwelling Americans aged 65 and older were examined and (b) when institutionalized older adults were included.


Using data from the American Community Survey and the National Nursing Home Survey, we calculated annual prevalence rates of basic ADL disabilities and functional limitations and fitted regression lines to examine trends over time.


The rates of basic ADL disabilities among community-dwelling adults aged 65 and older increased 9% between 2000 and 2005. When institutionalized elders were included, basic ADL disability rates were stable among men but increased among women. Functional limitation rates did not significantly change between 2000 and 2005.


These findings suggest an end of the decline in disability rates among older Americans, which, if confirmed, could have important implications for health care.

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