Introduction The process of population ageing in developing countries has important economic and social consequences. Dependency in the elderly constitutes a main concern for them considering the associated need of care, institutionalisation and health costs.
Aim To assess the prevalence of dependency in older people in Chile.
Methods Cross-sectional study in a national representative sample of 4546 people 60 y and older (61.5% women) living in the community in Chile. After dementia screening, home interviews including socio-demographic variables, history of chronic diseases and disability/functional limitations were done. Dementia was assessed with a previously validated test (MMSE plus PFAQ). Dependency was defined as being bed-belted or having dementia or need of assistance to perform 1 ADL or unable to perform 1 IADL or need of assistance to perform 2 IADL.
Results The prevalence of dependency was 24.1% (95% CI 21.7 to 26.7), increasing with age, 25.3% in women and 22% in men, p<0.13) and higher in people living in rural areas (33.5% 95% CI 34.8 to 32.1) than in urban areas (22.7% 95% CI 17.7 to 25.6) p<0.001. Beneficiaries of the public Health System had twice dependency rate than beneficiaries of private health insurance (24.1% 95% CI 21.5 to 26.9 vs 11.6% 95% CI 5.7 to 22.4, p<0.01). Age adjusted dependency was associated with <8 years of schooling (OR 2.28; 95% CI 1.59 to 3.27) and living in rural areas (OR 1.59; 95% CI 1.23 to 2.1), but not with gender.
Conclusion Important social differentials were observed. The prevalence of Dependency was higher in people living in rural areas, in the less educated and in the poor.
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Funding Funded by SENAMA and AECID
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