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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989

Abstract

DORANTES-MENDOZA, Guadalupe; AVILA-FUNES, José Alberto; MEJIA-ARANGO, Silvia  and  GUTIERREZ-ROBLEDO, Luis Miguel. Factors associated with functional dependence in older adults: a secondary analysis of the National Study on Health and Aging, Mexico, 2001. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2007, vol.22, n.1, pp. 1-11. ISSN 1020-4989.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892007000600001.

OBJECTIVES: To identify factors associated with dependence for basic activities of daily living (BADL) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) in elderly adults in Mexico. METHODS: A cross-sectional study of data from the first round of Mexico’s National Study on Health and Aging, 2001, was undertaken. The sample consisted of 7 171 participants, 60 years of age or older. Multifactorial regression analysis was used to identify associations between BADL and IADL dependence and lifestyle, sociodemographics, family background, and health history, from childhood to present. RESULTS: The mean age of the participants was 69.4 ± 7.6 years of age, with a range of 60-105 years; females made up 53.4% of the sample. The BADL- and IADL-dependent groups had a higher mean age (P < 0.01), were predominantly female (P < 0.01), had a greater incidence of illiteracy, and reported a significantly higher number of chronic diseases and greater frequency of pain than did the independent participants. Among the 521 (7.3%) BADL-dependent, there was a higher percentage who were single or widowed (P < 0.01), and their self-assessed health was poorer, than that of the independent (P < 0.01). Among the 603 (8.4%) IADL-dependent, significant, independently associated factors were age, cerebrovascular and other chronic diseases, depression, vision issues, excessive pain, and amputation of a limb. Absence of childhood trauma and fewer years of employment were related to a lower incidence of IADL dependence. CONCLUSIONS: Functional dependence in older adults is directly related to aging and has multiple determinants. Awareness of these determinants should help design health programs that can identify individuals who are at high risk of losing their independence, and implement interventions for slowing or reversing the process.

Keywords : Health services for the aged; activities of daily living; geriatric assessment; Mexico.

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