The purpose is to assess the discriminatory power of the Avlund scales: (1) by assessing the ability of the scales to discriminate between three different populations of elderly people, and (2) by studying groups with a poor fit between use of formal home care and functional ability. The study included (A) all residents in new sheltered housing facilities (response rate 68%, n = 102), (B) a random sample of users of home care (response rate 67%, n = 435), and (C) a random sample of individuals not using home care (response rate 74%, n = 501). All participants were 60+ years old. Data were collected by personal interviews (group A) and by postal questionnaires (group B and C). Functional ability was measured by The Avlund Mob-T scale about tiredness related to mobility and the Mob-H scale about need of help to mobility. Both scales were able to distinguish the three sub-populations. The whole range of the Mob-T scale was used in all three subpopulations, and the whole range of the Mob-H scale was used among the oldest residents and the oldest users of home care. A small group of well-functioning users of home care (n = 52) was characterized by good self-rated health, good hearing, vision and memory abilities; they gave more help to others, had higher social participation, and lived alone (only the women). A somewhat lager group of poor functioning non-users of home care (n = 266) had the opposite characteristics. In addition, they were older, had a poor social network and poor social support.
Keywords: Activities of Daily Living; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Discriminant Analysis; Fatigue; Female; Health Services for the Aged; Hearing; Home Care Services; Homes for the Aged; Humans; Interpersonal Relations; Interviews as Topic; Male; Memory; Middle Aged; Motor Activity; Questionnaires; Residence Characteristics; Self Assessment (Psychology); Self Care; Social Environment; Social Support; Vision