Disability and Caretakers at the End of Life

Gilbert Brenes-Camacho, Universidad de Costa Rica

Disability and the role and need of elderly caretakers increase with age, especially during the time immediately before death. We consider information of deceased persons at the second wave of two Latin American longitudinal studies, to study how this information sheds light on the relationship between aging, disability and living arrangements among the elderly. A greater increase in dependence on performing Activities of Daily Living (ADL) is observed among decedents than among respondents alive at second wave. Incidence of dependence is more than 50% higher and the association between chronic disease and disability is stronger if decedents are taken into account for computation. The most important change in living arrangements among disabled elderly is the arrival of other non-relatives in the household. Results from Costa Rica suggest that elderly’s main helpers are family members, but during the end-of-life period, new household members arrive to help in care taking chores.

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Presented in Poster Session 3