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Most People 65 and Older Need Help, Study Finds

According to a new disability study, two-thirds of people 65 and older need help to perform what are known as the activities of daily living (showering or bathing, eating, dressing, getting out of bed or a chair, walking and using the toilet). Help can take the form of using scooters, grab bars, canes or other people to stay well-functioning.

While not surprising, this large figure is significant. It should give public health experts better insight into the needs of this older group-which may translate into better quality of life.

canes as assistive devices, disability studyThe study was released online in the American Journal of Public Health. Data for the research came from the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends study that surveyed 8,000 Medicare enrollees age 65 and over; about 500 lived in nursing homes.

Researchers divided participants into five categories: people who could get around and care for themselves without any help; those who used devices or something else to work around their disability; people who cut back on activities but were independent; people who still had trouble doing activities themselves even with special devices; and those getting help from someone else.

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One noteworthy statistic: While 90 percent could feed themselves independently, half needed help bathing.  Other highlights of the study:

Photo courtesy of bigstickcanes.com via Google images

Sally Abrahms writes about caregiving, housing and age 50+ work. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


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