Trajectories of Morbidity, Disability, and Mortality among the U.S. Elderly Population: Evidence from the 1984–1999 NLTCS
This article employs a longitudinal form of the Grade of Membership (GoM) model to specify and estimate a multivariate model of the trajectories of morbidity, disability, and mortality among longitudinally followed elderly respondents to the National Long-Term Care Survey (NLTCS) of 1984, 1989, 1994, and 1999. A distinct trajectory was constructed for each individual respondent to the survey. The trajectories described the progressive declines over time in physical and cognitive functioning among a nationally representative sample of the U.S. elderly population. The model was structured to represent simultaneously the essential features of the fixed frailty model of Vaupel, Manton, and Stallard and Strehler and Mildvan’s model of linearly declining vitality. Unlike those models, however, the longitudinal GoM model was designed for easy and direct application to existing longitudinal data sets. The measurement space in the NLTCS application included from one to four sets of repeated measures for each survey respondent on 95 independent variables characterizing the nature and intensity of limitations in activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), physical functioning, and cognitive functioning, as well as indicators of behavioral characteristics, medical conditions, subjective health, age, race, sex, institutional status, and survival status. The application showed that the model can be fitted to existing data and that the results were interpretable as generalizations of fixed frailty with linearly declining vitality. © 2007 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
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