Near Life's End, Older Patients Benefit from Aid with Daily Activities

Apr 07, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Yale researchers have found that services to assist with daily living activities such as bathing, dressing and walking, are needed for all older persons at the end of life, regardless of the conditions leading to their deaths. The team also found that these services are needed most for older persons dying from advanced dementia.

Published in the current issue of the , the study tracked the course of disability in activities of daily living among older persons and their families. The results are part of the ongoing Precipitating Events Project (PEP) at Yale, which seeks to better understand how older persons manage day-to-day activities and remain independent at home. The PEP study includes 754 participants age 70 and older from the Greater New Haven area.

The researchers followed the participants with monthly telephone interviews for over 10 years to determine the occurrence of disability. They evaluated the ability to complete essential activities of daily living in the last year of the lives of 383 participants who had died.

Lead author of the study, Thomas M. Gill, M.D., the Humana Foundation Professor of Geriatric Medicine at Yale School of Medicine, and his team sought to identify distinct patterns of disability in the last year of life and to determine whether and how these patterns differ according to the condition leading to death.

“We found that the need for services to aid in activities of daily living is at least as great for older persons dying from and frailty as for those dying from more traditional terminal conditions such as cancer,” said Gill. “We also found that the burden of disability in the last year of life was greatest among participants who died from advanced .”

Explore further: Healthy diets for youth with type 1 diabetes can be hard for parents to obtain

More information: Citation: N Engl J Med Volume 362, No. 13: 1173-1180 (April 1, 2010)

Related Stories

Elders' ability to walk predicts future health outcomes

May 05, 2006

As people age into their 70s, their ability to walk a quarter mile becomes an important predictor of overall health and even how long they might live, according to study findings published in this week’s Journal of the Am ...

Older cancer patients have more frailty than other seniors

Jul 29, 2009

Older people with a history of cancer are more likely to have disabilities and be frail and vulnerable than older adults who have not had cancer, according to a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, publis ...

Recommended for you

'Beyond aid' in health care: Is it time for scrutiny?

6 hours ago

The UK government's investments in private hospital chains in developing countries, in the form of 'beyond aid' approaches, could actually be hindering inclusive development and need greater scrutiny, argue experts in The BM ...

Cutting health care costs isn't easy

7 hours ago

Convincing the nation's most vulnerable citizens to avoid costly emergency department visits is proving harder than expected. A new study from the University of Iowa found improving access to affordable primary ...

Marijuana users substitute alcohol at 21

7 hours ago

A recent study looked at marijuana and alcohol use in people between the ages of 18 and 24. It's probably not surprising that the results show a drastic increase in alcohol consumption in people just over ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.