The prevalence of sensory deficits, functional limitations, and disability among older Southeast Asians in the United States

Yang MS, Burr JA, Mutchler JE.  Department of Gerontology, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA 02125, USA.  J Aging Health. 2012 Oct;24(7):1252-74. Epub 2012 Sep 3.

OBJECTIVE: This study described the prevalence of and risk factors for sensory deficits, cognitive and physical functional limitations, and disability among older Southeast Asian refugees in the United States.

METHODS: Data for the regression analyses were drawn from the 2003-2007 American Community Surveys. The sample included foreign-born persons aged 55 and older who were classified as Hmong, Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese.

RESULTS: Hmong, Cambodian, and Laotian persons were more likely to report a sensory deficit, functional limitation and disability than Vietnamese persons. Year of arrival, English language proficiency and education were important risk factors. Hmong and Cambodian groups had the most negative health profiles.

DISCUSSION: Previous studies found that Vietnamese were the most health disadvantaged when compared to other Asian American groups and Whites. When compared to other refugee populations, the Vietnamese were actually the advantaged group. Our results indicated additional research on the disablement process among Southeast Asians is warranted.