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Study: Disability in elderly population on the rise

Category: General Health

After decreasing for about 20 years, the disability rate among U.S. senior citizens is on the rise, according to recent research.

In the study, which appears in the December issue of the Journals of Gerontology, a team of American researchers analyzed the health of non-institutionalized citizens over the age of 65 during a five-year period.

Between 2000 and 2005, the scientists found a nine percent increase in the number of individuals who expressed difficulty performing daily tasks such as dressing themselves or bathing because of a physical ailment lasting more than six months.

Compounding the problem, many doctors expect the number of Americans over age 65 to double between 2000 and 2030, as the Baby Boomer generation ages.

The study's lead author Esme Fuller-Thomson, professor of social work at the University of Toronto, said that "the combination of increasing disability rates plus a growing population of older adults emphasizes the importance of prevention of the many chronic conditions giving rise to disability in the first place."

The healthcare reform legislation passed in both houses, which provides for prevention and screening services without copayments and deductibles, may encourage those affected by disabilities to seek more intensive care.

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