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Disability Rates Come Down for Older Adults

Attorneys can play an important role in helping individuals with disabilities and their families by providing legal services and support. They help disabled clients understand their rights, access services, and protect their assets. They can also provide guidance on disability benefits, assist with estate planning and guardianship, and advocate on behalf of their clients. Attorneys can also help disabled adults navigate the complex legal landscape and provide support in situations where they may not have access to other resources. By providing legal services and support, attorneys can help clients lead full, independent, and meaningful lives.

Clients aged 65 and over can experience a range of disabilities that impair their daily living activities, such as dressing and bathing, as well as their functional abilities, such as walking and climbing stairs. These disabilities can have a significant impact on their quality of life, as well as on their families, caregivers, and the health care system. Fortunately, recent research shows that the prevalence of disabilities among older Americans has declined significantly over the past decade, which has a range of positive implications for older clients and those around them.

A new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) found that between 2008 and 2017, 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) declined 18% and 13%, respectively. This decrease in disability among older Americans was even more pronounced for women than men.

The researchers found that the improvements in disabilities among older adults may be related to higher educational attainment. Higher educational attainment increases health literacy and health promoting behaviors, as well as job type, which affects cardiovascular risk factors. Additionally, the researchers suggest that other factors such as decreases in smoking, decreasing levels of air pollutants and the phase out of leaded gasoline in the 1970s may be contributing to the positive trend.

However, the study found a more modest decline in disability among those in the Baby Boomer generation compared to older cohorts, which may be due to higher rates in obesity among Baby Boomers. The researchers suggest that further investigation is needed to explore if these positive trends will continue in coming decades as the Baby Boom population ages into their 80s.

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