Epidemiology of Ageing and Disability

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Ageing and associated disease and disability are increasingly important given the shifting demographics in the world's population. Although ageing is associated with an increased burden of multiple chronic diseases and disability, health professionals need to take a focused and measured approach to clinical management and decision-making. In order to achieve this goal, knowledge of the key types of disabilities affecting older persons is critical. Disability is not a static process and affects individuals differently. As such, both of these aspects of disability must be accounted for in medical decision-making. Individual autonomy and preferences affect the health professional's ability to perform disability risk management and prevention. Recognizing this component of any medical decision leads to improved quality of life for the patient. The difficulty in decision-making in older persons often comes from the lack of population-specific evidence-based medical studies. The development of guidelines and recommendations specific to older adults is dependent on the expansion of longitudinal studies and clinical trials on this population. However, available evidence can still be usefully employed within a framework involving life expectancy, preferences and quality of life. Clearly, multiple health professionals are needed to study and treat disability in older adults. Each professional brings a unique set of skills necessary to producing an individualized plan for prevention and treatment. Overall, delaying and compressing the time spent with disability is a public health challenge.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPathy's Principles and Practice of Geriatric Medicine
Subtitle of host publicationFifth Edition
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9780470683934
StatePublished - Mar 12 2012


  • Ageing epidemiology
  • Clinical practice guidelines
  • Decision-Making
  • Interprofessional/multidisciplinary team
  • Life expectancy
  • Physical disability
  • Quality of life
  • Risk assessment
  • Sensory disability


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