Investigating regional inequalities in cognitive status, functional status, and depression among the Elderly in the Americas: a secondary analysis of the international survey data

GA-CDRC Investigators:

Ian R. Hambleton (Principal Investigator), Christina Howitt, Catherine Brown

Funding Obtained:

BDS 10,000 from UWI School of Graduate Studies and Research

Start Date:

January 2016

End Date:

December 2016



Understanding inequalities is a first step towards evidence based policy responses. The Survey on Health, Well-Being, and Ageing in Latin America and the Caribbean (Project SABE) was conducted during 1999 and 2000 to examine health conditions and functional limitations of persons aged 60 and older in the countries of Argentina, Barbados, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, and Uruguay. Using this survey, this study will provide, for the first time, prevalence of functional status, cognitive status, and depression among the elderly of Latin America and the Caribbean, highlight vulnerable, and investigate the social infrastructure available to the elderly with these functional and cognitive limitations by analysing the social groups available to survey participants.
There were 9,544 participants in the 6 cities, of which 8,438 (88.4%) provided complete information on hypertension and obesity prevalence. Participants had an average age of 70.6 years (standard deviation, 7.9 years), and 59.6% were women. We investigated the effect of chronic conditions on quality of life indicators. Obesity only mildly affected a person’s perceived health and otherwise had no statistically significant effect on quality of life. The effect of hypertension was more apparent, with statistically significant decreases in self-reported health and community participation, and significant increases in depression and IADL limitations. These quality of life decreases were always more dramatic with the onset of chronic diseases (QoL decreases p<0.001 in all cases). The prevalence of activity of daily living (ADL) difficulties ranged from 1.3% (going to the toilet) to 8.4% (incontinence) among men and from 4.1% (feeding) to 11.8% (incontinence) among women. The prevalence of instrumental activity of daily living (IADL) difficulties ranged from 3.5% (taking medication) to 9.1% (transport) among men and from 4.7% (cooking) to 16.4% (transport) among women. Self-reported ADL and IADL prevalence rates were uniformly higher among women compared to men.
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