Prevalence and correlates of functional status in an older community--representative sample in Brazil.
OBJECTIVE: Information on dependency level of elderly in rapidly aging developing countries is limited, but this is needed to ascertain the extent of need for help with activities of daily living (ADLs). METHOD: In-person information was obtained in 1995 from a statewide survey of representative community residents >/=60 years of age in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (N = 7,040), on demographic characteristics, health conditions, social ties, health behaviors, and ADL performance. RESULTS: Nearly 40% needed help with one or more ADLs. In controlled analyses, need for help approximately doubled with each succeeding decade. Increased education and income and regular physical activity reduced risk. Selected health conditions (stroke, depression, poor self-rated health) were consistently associated with need for help. DISCUSSION: A large proportion of noninstitutionalized elderly have ADL problems. In addition to health care, interventions promoting equity of access to education and economic opportunity could reduce ADL dependency in coming generations.
Fillenbaum, GG; Blay, SL; Andreoli, SB; Gastal, FL
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