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Functional Decline From Age 80 to 85: Influence of Preceding Changes in Tiredness in Daily Activities

Avlund, Kirsten OT, PhD; Pedersen, Agnes N. MD, PhD, and; Schroll, Marianne MD, DMedSc

doi: 10.1097/01.PSY.0000082640.61645.BF
Original Articles

Objective To analyze whether functional decline from age 80 to 85 is influenced by changes in self-reported tiredness in daily activities in the preceding 5-year period.

Method A prospective study of 226 75-year-old men and women with 5- and 10-year follow-up in the Western part of Copenhagen County. Tiredness in daily activities was measured at age 75 and 80 by a validated scale. Changes in tiredness from age 75 to 80: 1) Sustained no tiredness, 2) not tired–tired, 3) tired–not tired, 4) sustained tiredness. Functional decline from age 80 to 85:1) Sustained no need of help; 2) need of help at age 85, alive; 3) need of help at age 85 or dead; 4) dead.

Results The analyses among the survivors showed a slight tendency to an association between having sustained tiredness or development of tiredness from age 75 to 80 and functional decline from age 80 to 85. Persons with sustained tiredness from age 75 to 80 were at significantly larger risk of functional decline and mortality from age 80 to 85. These results were not attenuated when adjusted by the covariates.

Conclusion The results in the present study indicate that it is important to take continuous complaints about tiredness in daily activities seriously, because this is an early sign of functional decline.

From the Department of Social Medicine, Institute of Public Health, University of Copenhagen (K.A.); Center of Preventive Medicine, Glostrup University Hospital (K.A., M.S.); Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (A.N.P.); and the Department of Geriatric Medicine, Bispebjerg Hospital (M.S.), Copenhagen, Denmark.

Address reprint requests to: Kirsten Avlund, Department of Social Medicine, Institute of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 3, 2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark. Email: K.Avlund@socmed.ku.dk

Received for publication July 10, 2002; revision received December 9, 2002.

Copyright © 2003 by American Psychosomatic Society
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