The world’s older population is growing at unprecedented rates; the proportion aged ≥60 is projected to reach 22% in 2050, double the figure in 2015, with particularly marked growth in “older old” populations. Independent living is perceived as an indicator of healthy ageing and implies more resilience and less reliance on social care services. In the United Kingdom, an estimated total of 3.8 million individuals over 65 years live alone, 58% of whom are over 75 (2.2 million persons) according to 2017 data from the Office of National Statistics. One way of assessing independence is by investigating the performance in instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) such as managing finances, transportation and medication intake. Here we present data from a rare 28-year-long study of older old people, the Cambridge City over-75s Cohort. Structured interviews were conducted with a total of 2610 participants aged 75+ years at baseline (1985-87) followed-up until all participants had died through 9 additional survey waves ending in 2013. The presentation will describe quantitatively the patterns of change in IADL as a proxy measure for independent living among the participants living alone across the study waves. Age- and sex-based strata will be presented. Additionally, the results of the associations between higher level of independence and socio-demographics (age, gender, education and social class), physical factors (e.g. vision, hearing, and co-morbidities), and cognitive and mental health factors (cognitive impairment and depressive symptoms assessed by the Mini-Mental State Examination test and a depressive symptoms’ score respectively) will be discussed.
Sarah Assaad, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Carol Brayne, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Jane Fleming, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom