|Functional Ability and Disability among Older Adults with Arthritis: The impact of age, duration of arthritis, and severity of arthritis
|Year of Publication
|Rohlfsen, L, Kronenfeld, JJ
|Research in the Sociology of Health Care
|Disabilities, Health Conditions and Status
Arthritis is the most prevalent chronic condition in persons ages 65 and older and is projected to increase substantially as the population ages. The purpose of this research is to assess if age, duration of arthritis, and severity of arthritis exert independent effects on various aspects of the disability process: functional limitations, activities of daily living (ADL) limitations, and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) limitations. Type of arthritis, socio-demographic factors, behavioral factors, and additional health statuses are also examined. Using longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement study, results show age and severity of arthritis are related to the number of functional limitations one has and to the odds of having ADL and IADL limitations. Duration of arthritis is positively related to functional limitations and to the odds of reporting ADL limitations. Duration of arthritis is not significantly related to IADL limitations, which are strongly linked to performing social roles and have less to do with physical functioning compared to ADL tasks and functional tasks. There is no difference between those with established arthritis compared to those who have had it for a shorter time period, suggesting those with arthritis adapt to social tasks better than physical tasks. The resources used to cope with IADL limitations may be more effective over time compared to those used to cope with functional limitations and ADL disability. Understanding the context of functional limitations and disability among those with arthritis may lead to improved support and care for those living with arthritis.