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Demographics & Statistics

Disability Rate Rises Among Americans Ages 65+

11 years ago

3373  0
Posted on Jan 06, 2010, 6 a.m.

Despite recent declines since the 1980s, the disability rate among American seniors is now on the rise.

Using data from the American Community Survey and the National Nursing Home Survey, E. Fuller-Thomson, from the University of Toronto (Canada), and colleagues studied whether the rates of basic activities of daily living (ADL) disabilities and functional limitations declined, remained the same, or increased between 2000 and 2005, for Americans ages 65+ living both in the general community and in the supervised medical setting.  The researchers found that the rates of basic ADL disabilities among community-dwelling adults ages 65+ 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. The team urges that: “These findings suggest an end of the decline in disability rates among older Americans, which, if confirmed, could have important implications for health care.”

E. Fuller-Thomson, B. Yu, A. Nuru-Jeter, J. M. Guralnik, and M. Minkler.  “Basic ADL Disability and Functional Limitation Rates Among Older Americans From 2000–2005: The End of the Decline?”   J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2009 64A: 1333-1336; doi:10.1093/gerona/glp130.

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