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Disability trends in Canada: 2001–2014 population estimates and correlates

Authors
  • Jehn, Anthony1
  • Zajacova, Anna1
  • 1 University of Western Ontario, Social Science Centre, 1151 Richmond Street, London, ON, N6G 2V4, Canada , London (Canada)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Canadian Journal of Public Health
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Publication Date
Dec 13, 2018
Volume
110
Issue
3
Pages
354–363
Identifiers
DOI: 10.17269/s41997-018-0158-y
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
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Abstract

ObjectivesDisability is a major concern for the health of midlife and older Canadians. Understanding disability trends is critical for detecting socio-economic and health precursors that could be amenable to policy interventions. The purpose of this study is to assess trends in rates of disability among Canadian adults age 40–64 and 65+. We also examine the impact of changing socio-demographic and health factors over time on the trends.MethodsData from the 2001–2014 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), a repeated cross-sectional nationally representative study, are used to estimate age- and gender-stratified logistic regression models of disability as a function of the year of interview to assess trends. Disability is defined as experiencing difficulties with a variety of individual functions, such as seeing, walking, climbing stairs, and bending.ResultsAmong men and women 65 and older, disability has declined since 2001 in most subgroups and regardless of changing socio-economic and health characteristics. Adults 40–64 years of age, in contrast, have experienced stagnating disability over the observation period. If it were not for changes in the distribution of education and household income, the disability rate would be increasing significantly.ConclusionOlder Canadian adults are experiencing mild but systemic improvements in disability. More worrisome is the stagnating trend among midlife cohorts, which could portend greater disability burden in the future as Canada’s population ages. Preventive efforts need to be targeted at vulnerable groups at earlier ages in order to prevent future increases in disability-related financial, caregiving, and medical burden.

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