Active life in old age. Combining measures of functional ability and social participation.

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K Avlund, B E Holstein, Erik Lykke Mortensen, M Schroll

This paper describes a new measure of Active Life Expectancy, called Active Life Classification (ALC) in which the criterion for successful aging is a combination of good functional ability and high social participation. OBJECTIVES: 1) to describe the distribution of ALC among 75-year-old men and women, 2) to investigate the association between ALC and life satisfaction and 3) to describe how ALC is determined by socio-demographic, psycho-social, and health factors. DESIGN: A cross-sectional population survey. SETTING: Eleven municipalities in the Western part of Copenhagen County in 1989. SUBJECTS: A random sample of 75-year-old people who were invited to participate in the study (participation rate: 89, n = 477). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: ALC is a combination of two dichotomized variables: functional ability (dependent vs not dependent of help) and social participation (low vs. high). RESULTS: For both men and women an active life (measured by ALC) was significantly associated with life satisfaction. For men only good self-rated health was related to ALC in the multivariate analysis. Among women high income, many social contacts, good self-rated health, good memory and lack of chronic diseases were associated with ALC. CONCLUSIONS: It is an advantage to combine functional ability and social participation in the description of quality of life in old age, as 1) a high social participation may compensate for a poor functional ability, and vice versa, 2) the combined measure is meaningful for both sexes, and 3) it gives more information than the two concepts used as separate outcome measures.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDanish Medical Bulletin
Volume46
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)345-9
Number of pages4
ISSN0907-8916
Publication statusPublished - 1999

Bibliographical note

Keywords: Aged; Aging; Cross-Sectional Studies; Female; Humans; Interpersonal Relations; Life Style; Male; Multivariate Analysis; Personal Satisfaction; Quality of Life; Sex Factors; Socioeconomic Factors

ID: 6339020