Trajectories of disability are an essential component to understand the burden of disability at the societal level. Longitudinal studies, compared to cross-national studies, enable a better analysis of the progression of physical limitations among the elderly. However, information on disability dynamics in developing countries is limited.
This paper examines the changes in activities of daily living (ADLs) in an 11-yr. period in the Mexican elderly population aged 60 or older and identifies how sociodemographic variables alter these trajectories.
The data come from the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS), a national sample of adults born in 1951 or earlier, including a baseline survey in 2001 and follow-ups in 2003 and 2012.
The ADL score increased on average by 0.03 for every year respondents aged after 60. In contrast, the ADL score was reduced by 0.06 for every additional year of education.
Age, gender, and years of education were confirmed to influence the trajectories of ADL limitations. Understanding the patterns of deterioration of functional limitations will help public health policies to better serve the population.