Changes in health, mortality, and disability and their impact on long-term care needs.
The need for long-term care is driven both by the growth of the elderly population and changes in the age relations of morbidity, disability, and mortality. Data show these relations changed in the U.S. elderly population from 1982 to 1989. Chronic disability prevalence declined between the 1982 and 1989 U.S. National Long Term Care Surveys. Among those impaired, many persons using personal assistance to meet their needs shifted to the use of assisted housing and special equipment. The relation of these trends to other changes--such as the increasing educational level of the elderly population--is examined to estimate how future changes in disability and morbidity may affect the demand for long-term care. Disabilities at specific times as well as their transition rates were examined to determine how long individuals need long-term care. The analyses suggest that, while the amount of long-term care services needed will increase rapidly, the types and amounts of services used by the U.S. elderly population will undergo significant change.
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