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Previous studies have reported that self-rated health (SRH) predicts subsequent mortality. However, less is known about the association between SRH and functional ability. The aim of this study was to examine whether SRH predicts decline in basic activities of daily living (ADL), even after adjustment for depression, among community-dwelling older adults in Japan.
A three-year prospective cohort study was conducted among 654 residents aged 65 years and older without disability in performing basic ADL at baseline. SRH was assessed using a visual analogue scale (range; 0–100), and dichotomized into low and high groups. Information on functional ability, sociodemographic factors, depressive symptoms, and medical conditions were obtained using a self-administered questionnaire. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association between baseline SRH and functional decline three years later.
One hundred and eight (16.5%) participants reported a decline in basic ADL at the three-year follow-up. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that the low SRH group had a higher risk for functional decline compared to the high SRH group, even after controlling for potential confounding factors (odds ratio (OR) = 2.4; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.3–4.4). Furthermore, a 10-point difference in SRH score was associated with subsequent functional decline (OR = 1.37; 95% CI = 1.16–1.61).
SRH was an independent predictor of functional decline. SRH could be a simple assessment tool for predicting the loss or maintenance of functional ability in community-dwelling older adults. Positive self-evaluation might be useful to maintain an active lifestyle and stay healthy.
Previous studies have found that social cohesion and trust (SCT) were associated with psychological well-being and physical health. In this study, we investigated the associations between SCT and mental and physical health among community-dwelling elderly in a town in southern Taiwan.
The study population consisted of 149 community-dwelling elderly aged 65 years and older (68 men, 81 women; mean age, 75.4 ± 6.1 years) residing in the town of Dashe in southern Taiwan. Activities of daily living (ADL), SCT, depression, subjective quality of life (QOL), current medical status, past medical history, and health behaviors were assessed in face-to-face interviews. Objective neurobehavioral functions were assessed using the timed up & go (TUG) test, functional reach test, and handgrip test.
Scores for ADL and Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) were significantly correlated with SCT, and SCT was significantly correlated with all subjective QOL items. In addition, a strong correlation was observed between SCT and relationship with friends. Values for SCT (median ≥ 20) were significantly associated with both subjective sense of health (median ≥ 68) and subjective happiness (median ≥ 73) after adjusting for age, sex, and ADL.
SCT is an important variable that influences self-rated health and happiness, independently of ADL, age, and sex. When assessing geriatric psychological function, SCT should be examined more carefully, given its association with subjective sense of health and happiness, depression, and physical function.
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