An estimation of the functional disability burden in elderly Chinese age 70 years and over
Woo J., Ho SC., Yuen YK., Yu LM., Lau J.
A cross-sectional survey of functional status among elderly Hong Kong Chinese aged 70 years and over was carried out to estimate the current burden of disability. Two thousand and thirty-two subjects (999 men, 1033 women) were recruited by random sampling of the old age and disability allowance schemes covering over 90% of the elderly population, stratified by sex and 5-year age groups. Functional ability was administered using the Barthel Index. The duration of disability, if any, was also noted. The prevalence of disability for different activities of daily living varied from 0.8% to 26% (lowest for feeding and highest for climbing stairs and bathing). The prevalence was higher for women than men, and higher in the older age group for both sexes. Men in the 80+ age group had shorter duration of disability compared with those in the 70-79 age group, and compared with women. Using disability years (estimated number of elderly with disability in the population x median duration of disability) as an estimate of disability burden, the number ranges from approximately 19,000 (inability to feed) to 100,000 (inability to climb stairs). This estimate may be useful in the planning of service provisions for the formal and informal care sector.