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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012 Mar;60(3):485-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03867.x. Epub 2012 Feb 21.

All-cause 1-, 5-, and 10-year mortality in elderly people according to activities of daily living stage.

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  • 1Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.



To examine the independent association between five stages of activities of daily living (ADLs) and mortality after accounting for known diagnostic and sociodemographic risk factors.


For five stages of ADLs (0 to IV), determined according to the severity and pattern of ADL limitations, unadjusted life expectancies and adjusted associations with mortality were estimated using a Cox proportional hazards regression model.




Nine thousand four hundred forty-seven participants aged 70 and older from the second Longitudinal Study of Aging.


One-, 5-, and 10-year survival and time to death.


Median life expectancy was 10.6 years for participants with no ADL limitations and 6.5, 5.1, 3.8, and 1.6 years for those at ADL stages I, II, III, and IV, respectively. The sociodemographic- and diagnostic-adjusted hazard of death at 1 year was five times as great at stage IV as at stage 0 (hazard ratio = 5.6, 95% confidence interval = 3.8-8.3). The associations between ADL stage and mortality declined over time but remained statistically significant at 5 and 10 years.


ADL stage continued to explain mortality risk after adjusting for known risk factors including advanced age, stroke, and cancer. ADL stages might aid clinical care planning and policy as a powerful prognostic indicator particularly of short-term mortality, improving on current ADL measures by profiling activity limitations of relevance to determining community support needs.

© 2012, Copyright the Authors Journal compilation © 2012, The American Geriatrics Society.

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