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News

Older people recover from disabling events more often than previously thought

Yale University : 08 April, 2004  (New Product)
About four out of every five newly disabled people regain the ability to live independently within six months of their disabling event, a higher recovery rate than previously reported, according to a study at Yale.
About four out of every five newly disabled people regain the ability to live independently within six months of their disabling event, a higher recovery rate than previously reported, according to a study at Yale.

While this is a positive result, the researchers also found that the recovery may be short-lived. 'The chance of recovery from an episode of disability is excellent,' said Susan E. Hardy, postdoctoral fellow in geriatrics at Yale School of Medicine. 'However, once older people recover, they are at very high risk for recurrent episodes of disability. Future research needs to develop ways to help older people who are newly recovered to maintain their independence.'

The majority of people in the study who recovered from disability maintained their independence for at least six months. But for many, recovery was brief, especially among people with a disability lasting two or more months. The researchers said that while the short-term prognosis for recovery is good, for many older people the findings of recurring disability suggest the need to prevent the initial episode of disability and also to prevent subsequent reoccurrences.

Hardy and co-author Thomas M. Gill, associate professor of internal medicine/geriatrics at Yale School of Medicine, used data from a four-year study to evaluate the recovery process among 754 New Haven residents ages 70 or older. The study measured disability in terms of activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, walking or getting out of a chair.

The National Institutes of Health and the Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholars in Aging Research Program funded the research.
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