Most people envision a future where they grow old gracefully in their own homes. However for many, disability in old age greatly impacts independence and quality of life. An article co-authored by Suzanne G.Leveille, Ph.D., of the Research & Training Institute at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for Aged in Boston, published recently in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, answers the question “What do older disabled women report as the main symtoms causing their disability?” Dr. Leveille and her colleagues examined what women in the study said themselves about what prevents them from performing everyday tasks like dressing and bathing, as well as, walking or climbing stairs.
Her research comes at a time when the U.S. population is aging rapidly and disability poses a great threat to the quality of life of a growing number of older individuals. In addition, a growing rate of disability has significant implications for future health care costs.
The research yields several major conclusions and lays groundwork for future investigation.