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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


ANIA LAFUENTE, Basilio J. et al. Healthy aging and functional disability among the elderly inhabitants of the Canary Islands (Spain). Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 1997, vol.71, n.2, pp.161-171. ISSN 2173-9110.

BACKGROUND: Among the elderly, health is usually measured in terms of ability for both the Basic and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living. The objective of this work is to estimate the percentage of healthy elderly among the population of the Canary Islands (Spain) and the factors associated with functional disability in this older population. METHODS: We randomly sampled 411 elderly from the whole population of the Canary Islands, of whom 97 had died or could not be located. Of the 314 people approached, 29 (9,2%) denied participation. The 285 participants were interviewed with the Spanish version of Pfeiffer's Functional Assessment Inventory previously adapted and validated in our habitat. RESULTS: Up to 53% of the elderly (61% of males and 47% of females) were disability-free. Greater disability was associated with higher age, lesser education, worse subjective health, worse subjective vision, and worse subjective hearing. No association of disability with female gender and cognitive deficit was found when including age and education in the logistic model. CONCLUSIONS: Health status among the elderly in the Canaries is similar to that in developed countries. In contrast with other studies, we found functional ability associated with poor hearing and dissociated from cognitive deficit.

Keywords : Activities of Daily Living; Geriatric assessment; Epidemiology; Community Health; Old Age.

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