Introduction Increasing attention is paid on functioning and disability as determinants of autonomy and independent living in aged persons. Yet, determinants of functioning and disability have not been studied extensively in this age group. Most studies took a disease-oriented approach by investigating populations with specific health conditions. So far, few representative findings on the prevalence of disability and its determinants in aged persons are available. The objective of our study is to examine distribution and determinants of functioning and disability in aged persons in the community.
Methods The data originate from the MONICA/KORA study, a population-based cohort study established in 1984 in Germany. Survivors of the original cohorts aged 65 years and above were examined from 01/2009 to 12/2009. Disability was assessed with the Health Assessment Questionnaire. Logistic regression was used to estimate raw effects and conditional inference trees with Bonferroni adjusted p-values were used to identify high risk groups.
Results We analysed a total of 4127 individuals (51.2% female) with a mean age of 73.3 years (SD=6.1). Disability was present in 44.7% of all individuals (54% for women, 35% for men). Prevalence of disability increased from 28.8% for 65–70 year old individuals to 75.9% for individuals over 80. Prevalence was 31.6% in individuals without comorbidity, else 55.9% (RR=1.77). High risk groups were found among all age groups.
Conclusion Minimal disability is highly prevalent in aged persons. The results give a representative overview of the prevalence and determinants of disability in the aged in the German population.
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