Chronic Diseases and their Association with Disability among the Elderly in India

Shailendra Kumar, Manas Ranjan Pradhan, Abhishek Kumar Singh


Morbidity among the elderly has an important influence on their physical functioning and psychological well-being. Understanding the role of chronic diseases in disability among them is pertinent for policies and programmes aimed at their welfare and management of chronic diseases. This study assesses the association between chronic diseases and disability among the elderly in India. Data from the “Building a Knowledge Base on Population Ageing in India (BKPAI)” survey conducted in seven states of India in 2011 has been used for bivariate and multivariate analysis. Twenty-nine per cent of the elderly have arthritis, 21 per cent hypertension, 13 per cent cataract, 10 per cent diabetes, 7 per cent asthma and 6 per cent heart disease. Eight per cent elderly have at least one functional disability and 73 per cent have at least one physical disability. Multivariate analysis corroborated the bivariate findings that elderly persons with chronic diseases are significantly more likely to have functional and physical disability. Periodic assessment of the health status of the elderly and provision of required preventive as well as curative measures for a healthy elderly population should be a policy priority.

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