Trends in disability in Europe using various indicators and SHARE data

Cleon Tsimbos, University of Piraeus
Georgia Verropoulou, University of Piraeus

In the context of the prospective increase in the numbers of older adults in Europe and of conflicting findings regarding recent disability trends, the present study uses data from waves one, two, four and five of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), covering a time span of about nine years and the ten countries participating at all these waves, to assess trends in disability based on four different measures: limitations in Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), limitations in Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs), mobility difficulties (MOB) and the Global Activity Limitation Indicator (GALI). The analysis is based on the use of multivariate logistic regression models which are run separately by country, sex and broad age-group (i.e. respondents aged 50-64 and 65+). The findings indicate that, controlling for age and sex, trends differentiate by country. For both sexes combined, an increase in most indicators of disability can be observed among Germans aged 50-64 and French and Belgians aged 50+; by contrast, a decrease is apparent for most other countries and, in particular, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Spain and Italy. This decline is more substantial among older respondents and among females. Further, in most instances declines are statistically significant regarding physical/motor functional limitations (mobility difficulties) and GALI activity restrictions. Examining trends over time net of the effect of chronic conditions, improvement becomes more significant in some cases, highlighting thus the important role of such diseases in the disablement process.

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Presented in Session 38: Health, well-being and morbidity