If the prevalence of disabilities had remained at 2008 levels, an additional 1.27 million older Americans would have had difficulties bathing or dressing and an additional 1.89 million would have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs by 2017.
The prevalence of disabilities among American adults aged 65 and older is much lower than it was for the same age group a decade earlier, according to a nationally representative study published online in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) .
The decline in disability among older Americans was substantial. The odds of experiencing limitations in activities of daily living (such as dressing or bathing) and the odds of experiencing functional limitations (such as serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs) declining 18% and 13%, respectively, between 2008 and 2017.
In 2008, 12.1% of older Americans reported limitations in activities of daily living. In 2017, this percentage had declined to 9.6%. To put this into perspective, if the prevalence of limitations in daily living remained at the 2008 levels, an additional 1.27 million older Americans would have ADL limitations in 2017.