The research took as a starting point data on the onset and severity of chronic disability of a group of older people in Spain in order to identify their health careers. Once the affected patients were typified, the researchers analyzed the factors that influenced the risk of death for the next five years to an initial assessment of your health.
Of the three population groups examined (mild onset of disability, severe early – from 60 years of age – and severe late – beginning of disability at 70 years of age), All of them showed that the ability to carry out daily activities, such as spending the afternoon with family members, had very positive effects on their life expectancy.
Family income and educational level had a small effect on the first group, who experienced a mild onset of disability; however, these same values only marginally affected the risk of death in both the “severe early” and “severe late” groups, where the onset of chronic disability is experienced in both cases in old age. The results were the same for both men and women.
“This finding is relevant for the investigation of health inequalities. More studies are needed to confirm these findings and the importance of the socioeconomic context in the evolution of disability and survival ”, explains Antonio Abellán, co-author of the study.
“Socioeconomic differences between population groups, in general, play a very important role in health and risk of death. It is a statement already studied that, the lower the socioeconomic status, the higher the risk of death. But we point out that the appearance of disability in old age makes individuals more equal after their appearance, regardless of previous socioeconomic conditions “, concludes the expert.