|Budget Amount *help
¥1,900,000 (Direct Cost: ¥1,900,000)
Fiscal Year 1996: ¥600,000 (Direct Cost: ¥600,000)
Fiscal Year 1995: ¥600,000 (Direct Cost: ¥600,000)
Fiscal Year 1994: ¥700,000 (Direct Cost: ¥700,000)
From 1991 through 1996, we annually assessed the conprehebsive geriatric assessment (CGA) as well as activities of daily living (ADL) dependency of elderly subjects living in Kahoku, a Japanese rural town, in which individuals aged 65 years or over accounted for 30% of the population in 1991 and 33% in 1996. We assessed eight basic ADL items (walking, ascending and descending stairs, feeding, dressing, using toilet, bathing, grooming and taking medicine) regarding the help needed using the validated disability rating scalel. The numbers of subjects interviewed annually were 1488 (in '91), 1578 ('92), 1618 ('93), 1643 ('94), 1710 ('95), 1770 ('96) elderly individuals accounted for respectively 91%, 90%, 91%, 91%, 91% and 92% of the eligible population of the town.
The proportion of the elderly who were independent in each ADL item decreased with advancing age in each cross-sectional year. The eligible elderly population in Kahoku increased by 222 subjects during the five years of the study (from 1488 to 1770). Notably, the total proportion of the independent elderly significantly increased annually after 1993 (75%) compared with 1991 (71%), and comparison between 1991 and 1996 revealed a significant increase in not only the total proportion of the independent elderly (from 71% to 85%) but also the proportion of the independent subjects in each age group. Our year-serial cross-sectional data do suggest that the proportion of disability, at least, in the non-institutionalized elderly is not as great as conventional wisdom in the advanced aged population might suggest.