Coping with Chronic Disease? Chronic Disease and Disability in Elderly American Population 1982-1999

33 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2009

See all articles by Gabriel Aranovich

Gabriel Aranovich

University of California, San Francisco - Department of Psychiatry

Jay Bhattacharya

Stanford University - Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Alan M. Garber

Stanford University - Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research; Government of the United States of America - Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Medical Center; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Thomas E. MaCurdy

Stanford University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: March 2009

Abstract

It is well known that disability rates among the American elderly have declined over the past decades. The cause of this decline is less well established. In this paper, we test one important possible explanation--that the decline in disability occurred because of chronic disease prevention efforts among the elderly. For this purpose we analyze data from the National Long Term Care Survey and from the National Health and Interview Survey. Our findings suggest that primary prevention, as reflected in decreased disease prevalence, was not responsible for advances made in elderly functioning between 1980 and 2000. We found a broad decline in less severe forms of disability that is unlikely to have resulted from improved disease management. Instead, these measured improvements in functioning may reflect environmental, technological, and/or socioeconomic changes. Improvements in the more severe forms of disability were modest and were restricted to those suffering from particular illnesses, which make improved and/or more aggressive management a plausible explanation and one that might increase costs should the trend persist.

Suggested Citation

Aranovich, Gabriel and Bhattacharya, Jayanta and Garber, Alan M. and MaCurdy, Thomas E., Coping with Chronic Disease? Chronic Disease and Disability in Elderly American Population 1982-1999 (March 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w14811. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1369047

Gabriel Aranovich

University of California, San Francisco - Department of Psychiatry ( email )

Third Avenue and Parnassus
San Francisco, CA 94143
United States

Jayanta Bhattacharya (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research ( email )

Center for Health Policy
179 Encina Commons
Stanford, CA 94305-6019
United States
650-736-0404 (Phone)
650-723-1919 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Alan M. Garber

Stanford University - Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research ( email )

179 Encina Commons
Stanford, CA 94305-6019
United States
650-723-0920 (Phone)
650-724-5182 (Fax)

Government of the United States of America - Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Palo Alto, CA 94304
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Thomas E. MaCurdy

Stanford University ( email )

30 Alta Road
Stanford, CA 94305
United States
650-723-3983 (Phone)
650-725-5702 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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