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Changes in the prevalence of functional limitation among older Asians: a cross-country comparison

Mary Beth Ofstedal, University of Michigan
Zachary Zimmer, Population Council
Albert Hermalin, University of Michigan
Yi-Li Chuang, Bureau of Health Promotion, Taiwan
Josefina Natividad, University of the Philippines
Zhe Tang, Beijing Municipal Network for Health & Care of the Elderly

The objective of this paper is to examine short-term trends in the prevalence of limitation in Activities of Daily Living (ADL), Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) and Nagi physical functioning activities among older persons in four Asian settings: Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and the Beijing Municipality. We use data from representative longitudinal surveys of older adults conducted during the 1990s to estimate prevalence rates for cohorts age 60 or over at two different points in time. Results suggest a general pattern of increase in functional limitation across cohorts in all settings, particularly with regard to Nagi limitation and to a somewhat lesser extent ADL limitation. Compositional differences in the samples account for little of the increase. The paper discusses the potential implications of these results and places them in the context of past and current trends in functional limitation observed in the United States and other developed countries.

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Presented in Session 2: Aging in developing countries