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Associations between functional ability and life satisfaction in the oldest old: results from the longitudinal population study Good Aging in Skåne

Authors Enkvist, Ekstrom H, Elmstahl S

Received 5 May 2012

Accepted for publication 1 June 2012

Published 20 August 2012 Volume 2012:7 Pages 313—320


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Åsa Enkvist, Henrik Ekström, Sölve Elmståhl

Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, Malmö University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden

Objectives: To describe change in functional ability in the oldest-old population during 3 years and examine its relation to life satisfaction (LS). A total of 681 individuals aged 78 and older from the population-based study Good Aging in Skåne took part.
Methods: Functional ability was assessed using Sonn and Åsberg's Activities of Daily Living (ADL) scale and related to LS assessed by Neugarten et al's Life Satisfaction Index A (LSI-A).
Results: Fifty-one percent of 87–93-year-olds reported ADL decline during 3 years. Individuals reporting impaired ADL had a mean LSI-A value of 23.0 compared to 26.4 in those unchanged. ADL decline had a stronger negative effect on LS in the younger group (78–84 years), r = 0.207, P < 0.001. In a multiple regression model, one score's decline in ADL capacity corresponded to 1.5 scores lower LS (P < 0.001).
Discussion: Effort put into keeping the oldest old on a high level of functional ability has the potential to maintain the LS of this population.

Keywords: life satisfaction, functional ability, longitudinal, oldest old

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