The effect of specific medical conditions on functional decline

TitleThe effect of specific medical conditions on functional decline
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsKiely D.K, Morris J.N, Morris S.A, Cupples L.A, Ooi W.L, Sherwood S.
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Date PublishedDec
Accession Number9400555
Keywords*Activities of Daily Living, *aging, *Geriatric Assessment, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Female, Health Status, Human, Male, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

OBJECTIVES: To examine how functional status among older community-dwelling residents differs over time between those with and those without specific medical conditions. DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 1060 community-dwelling Massachusetts residents aged 65 or older who were not totally functionally dependent at baseline assessment. MEASUREMENTS: Functional status, five medical conditions (heart problem, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and stroke), and the total number of these five medical conditions. Assessments were done at baseline and at two annual follow-ups. RESULTS: Adjusted repeated measures analysis of covariance revealed a time difference (P < .001) for all five medical conditions and group differences for diabetes (P = .006) and stroke (P < .001). Functional abilities declined over time and those with specific medical conditions were more impaired initially, but the rate of decline did not significantly differ from those free of the condition. The presence of each additional medical condition resulted in additional impairment (P < .001), but the rate of decline over time did not differ by number of medical conditions. CONCLUSIONS: Efforts to reduce or prevent the development of specific medical conditions are essential to maintaining functional independence of older people as well as to reducing use of supportive services and admission rates to nursing homes. Particular attention should be directed toward preventing stroke since its consequences are the most functionally disabling.


Short TitleJournal of the American Geriatrics SocietyJ Am Geriatr Soc
Alternate JournalJ Am Geriatr Soc