Clinical diagnosis and disability among community dwellers aged 75 and over: The Sydney older persons study

Louise M. Waite, Helen Creasey, David A. Grayson, Dorothy Edelbrock, John S. Cullen, William S. Brooks, Barney J. Casey, Hayley P. Bennett, G. Anthony Broe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Disability is an important predictor of health and community service utilisation. Understanding its pathogenesis has implications for planning of future health services. The aim of our study was to examine the contribution of systemic, psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases to disability in an "oldold" population. Methods: 647 men and women over the age of 75 participated in the Sydney Older Person's Study. Disability in activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities of daily living (IAD L) and mobility was assessed using self report, informant and clinician assessments. Diagnoses of systemic, psychiatric, neurodegenerative diseases were made by clinicians. lndividual disease contribution to disability was assessed using multiple regression analysis. Contribution to disability by the groups of systemic, neurodegenerative and psychiatric diagnoses was assessed, using hierarchical regression. Results: Neurodegenerative diseases were the major contributors to ADL impairment. Systemic and psychiatric diseases played a role in IADL and mobility impairment, as did the neurodegenerative diseases. Of the neurodegenerative diseases, dementialcognitive impairment and Parkinsonismlgait slowing particularly contributed to disability. Self-report under-identified the role of the neurodegenerativediseases in disability. It also introduced a gender effect, that the clinical measures did not share to the same extent Conclusions: Nerrrodegeneratiue diseases are important contri6titors to disnbility and assessments and diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases should be included in disability assessments. Self report underidentifies the importance of these conditions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)67-72
    Number of pages6
    JournalAustralasian Journal on Ageing
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2001


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