A comparative study of factors related to carrying out physical activities of daily living (PADL) among 75-year-old-men and women in two Nordic localities.Aging (Milano) 1997; 9(4):258-67A
The aim of this cross-sectional and cross-national study was to describe and compare the ability to carry out physical activities of daily living (PADL) and examine factors that might explain variation in this ability in two Nordic populations. Seven hundred and six men and women aged 75 from two populations (Glostrup, Denmark, and Jyväskylä, Finland) were interviewed and given a laboratory examination in 1989-90. The ability to carry out the PADL activities was studied by interview. Tests were given to determine depressive symptoms, cognitive capacity, and selected physical and sensory performance domains. Four different regression models (men and women in Jyväskylä and Glostrup) were used to analyze a number of variables describing physical and psychological health and performance related to the PADL. Knee extension strength and stair mounting height in three models (men and women in Jyväskylä and women in Glostrup), and walking speed in one model (men in Glostrup) emerged as explanatory factors on the basis of the physical performance tests done. Sight, except in the women in Glostrup, hearing in the men in Jyväskylä, and balance in the women in Glostrup also explained PADL functioning. In addition, symptoms of depression in the men in Glostrup, and symptoms of illness, except in the men in Jyväskylä, and cognitive capacity in the men in Jyväskylä emerged as explanatory factors in the regression models. There were, however, no major differences in the determinants of PADL functioning in the two Nordic populations of elderly people. Physical, psychological and sensory tests provide useful information, complementary to self-reports regarding declining PADL functional capacity.