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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2005 Aug;60(8):1028-34.

Trends in disability and disability-free life expectancy among elderly people in Spain: 1986-1999.

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Department of Preventive Medeicine and Public health, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain.



This paper examines recent trends in the prevalence of disability and disability-free life expectancy in the population aged 65 years and older in Spain.


Data were drawn from two National Disability, Impairment and Handicap Surveys conducted in 1986 and 1999. Only severe disability was studied, and disabilities overcome through use of external technical aids were included.


In the period 1986--1999, a relative annual decline of 3.7% in overall disability was observed for men. The decline was somewhat less marked in women, participants aged 75 years and older, and those with the lowest educational level. In men, there was a relative annual decline of just over 3% in walking and hearing disabilities, of under 1% in seeing and cognitive disabilities, and a slight rise in self-care disability. Trends among women were similar, though self-care disability rose by 1.78%. In the period 1986--1999, total and disability-free life expectancy rose across all age groups in both sexes. Among men aged 65 years, the proportion of life expectancy with disability fell from 42.1% in 1986 to 21.6% in 1999; the comparable figures for women were 49.8% in 1986 and 30.6% in 1999. Indeed, a reduction in life expectancy with disability was observed even among persons aged 80 years and older.


From 1986 through 1999, prevalence of severe disability among Spanish elderly persons decreased substantially, and the duration of life with disability was compressed between a later onset and the time of death. Among women, however, self-care disability--the type of disability requiring most social resources for its attention--underwent a sharp rise.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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