Gender differences in mobility device use among U.S. older adults
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Mobility devices are important in assisting individuals with mobility difficulties maintain community living. Compared with men, women typically experience greater mobility disability in later life. The objective of this study was to examine potential gender differences in mobility device use among older adults. We analyzed data from 7,236 older men and women from the 2011 wave of the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), a nationally representative study of health status and consequences of aging and disability among older adults. The primary outcome variable was the use of any mobility device (cane, walker, wheelchair, or scooter) during the month before the baseline interview. We used weighted multivariate logistic regression to examine the effect of gender on the likelihood of device use. Other independent variables included age, race, physical/mental health status, cognition, comorbidities, and mobility difficulty. The average age of the study sample was 78 and 58% were women. Multivariate analysis showed that women were 40% less likely to use mobility devices compared to men (OR=0.60, 95% CI, 0.49-0.74). Older age, being Black, having higher education/income, worse lower body strength or balance, and being overweight/obese were associated with higher likelihood of device use. In contrast, having probable dementia, worse upper body strength, and being underweight were associated with lower likelihood of device use. These findings suggest that substantial gender difference exist in the likelihood of mobility device use. Research should investigate which factors contribute to this difference and whether interventions are needed to promote mobility device use among women.
Social and behavioral sciences
Describe gender differences in mobility device use and the implications for disabled older adults in the US.
Identify individual factors associated with mobility device use.
Keyword(s): Aging, Gender
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been researching aging and disability using the National Health and Aging Trends Study for two years and have presented this material at conferences. One of my research interests is gender and disability among older adults.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.