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Aging Clin Exp Res. 2006 Oct;18(5):352-8.

Decreasing prevalence of disability in activities of daily living, functional limitations and poor self-rated health: a 6-year follow-up study in Spain.

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1
Département de Médecine sociale et préventive, Université de Montréal, CP 6128, Succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal H3C 3J7, Québec, Canada. maria.victoria.zunzunegui@umontreal.ca

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS:

Forecasting functional status in elderly populations is uncertain. Our aim is to provide evidence of population trends of Activities of Daily Living (ADL) disability, functional limitations and self-rated health.

METHODS:

Data come from a longitudinal study of aging in Leganés (Spain), collected in 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999, on a representative sample of 1560 community dwelling people over 65. Response rate at baseline was 82%. ADL disability was defined as needing help in at least one of the following: walking across a small room, taking a shower, toileting, getting out of bed, getting up from a chair, using the toilet, dressing and eating. Functional limitations were based on questions of difficulty with upper and lower limbs. Self-rated health was assessed with a single question. ADL disability, functional limitations and self-rated health were regressed on age, survey year, sex and education.

RESULTS:

There are significant declines in ADL disability, functional limitations and poor self-rated health at every age and up to very advanced ages. Over 90, the ADL disability trend may be reversed, with the emergence of a very old and disabled population. Women and people with little education have a higher prevalence of disability, functional limitations and poor health, when compared with men and those with higher education.

CONCLUSIONS:

Results suggest the postponement of severe disability onset in this Spanish population, leading to longer healthy life expectancy, and support the emergence of a very disabled population over 90 years of age.

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PMID:
17167298
DOI:
10.1007/bf03324830
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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