A 9-year longitudinal study among community-dwelling older women
Disability in ADL of aging women is an important public health concern. It is thus of interest to identify modifiable factors underlying onset of ADL disability. We assessed whether three physical performance-based measurements could predict ADL disability 9 years later. The participants were 113 non-disabled community-dwelling women with a mean age of 79.5 years at baseline. The baseline examinations of physical performance were: functional reach, climbing steps and comfortable walking speed. ADL disability was defined as need of personal assistance in at least one of five basic ADL items. The participants were followed for 9 years. Logistic regression models were fitted for each of the physical performance measurements together with the covariates in relation to ADL disability. At follow-up 25.7% were disabled in ADL. All three performance measurements were significantly associated with the onset of ADL disability at 9 years of follow-up, however, only walking speed remained significantly related to onset of ADL disability, when all three performance measurements were included in the same model. In conclusion all the three performance measurements were related to onset of ADL disability, with walking speed having the strongest predictive value. Systematic screening based on walking speed measurements of non-disabled older women might help health professionals to identify those at risk of ADL disability and introduce preventive measures in time.
Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 2013, Vol 56, Issue 3, p. 501-6