These combined points of views of the individual and the society constitute the main reason why one important goal of gerontological research, geriatric medicine, and public health is to increase active life expectancy, which refers to years without limitations in activities because of disability.Increasing life expectancy does not inevitably mean improving health at the population level.Department of Social Medicine; Institute of Public Health, University of Copenhagen.
In total, the general picture is that the functional ability of older populations in the Western world has improved.In addition, living longer exposes more of us to the non-fatal disabling diseases of old age such as Parkinson's disease, dementia and arthritis. Russische frau partnersuche The consequence will be a longer life with more years of disability. This optimistic hypothesis suggests that improvements in health behavior and improved medical care, which modify the risk factors of mortality will also delay the age-at-onset and the progression of non-fatal disabling diseases.The aging individuals worry about declining intellectual abilities and physical health.The changing demographic patterns are also coupled with worries that society may have to struggle with in order to deal with difficult issues such as the financial burden of providing for old age, increasing demands on social and medical care, growing needs for assistance and care in cases of disability.
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A recent study showed improvement in functional ability in the Finnish population over 14 years (310).Thus, the studies referred to show no clear pattern.However, these improvements did not hold across all specific measures of disability (103).To the contrary, late-life disability declines have been concentrated among difficulties with Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) (73, 186, 205), such as household chores, shopping, and medication management, and among functional limitations in basic physical tasks, such as lifting, climbing stairs, and walking (6, 102, 186).However, several studies found no cohort changes in disability in the Physical Activities of Daily Living, such as bathing, dressing and managing toilet visits (6, 73, 186, 205, 275, 344), the most severe type of disability, generally associated with long-term care needs. (141) found no differences at all over a 5 year period in a Dutch male population.
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A French study (255) showed a rather clear decrease in disability measured by a global question about functional ability, and an English study (300) found that later cohorts of older people had lower levels of severe disability, while there were no cohort differences with regard to moderate disability.
The second theme is the study of tiredness, which is hypothesized to be an early sign of the aging process.
Social position in old age may be a good indicator of the influence of the living conditions throughout the life on functional ability in old age.
The strength of the studies, which compare different birth cohorts are that they are period specific and thus explore whether populations vary in different periods.
There are large variations between different time periods, which may influence the functional ability in old age, for example, the general attitude to the value of physical activity, the knowledge about nutrition and health, and the possibilities for health interventions and treatment.