Gender differences in functional disability and self-care among seniors in Bangladesh.
BACKGROUND: Disability among older adults is a public health concern. To date there are no in-depth and comprehensive analyses on older adults' disabilities in Bangladesh. This study investigated gender differences in the prevalence of disability and the socio-demographic factors associated with disability among older adults in Bangladesh.
METHODS: This research used a sample of 4176 elderly males and females aged 60 years and over from a nationally representative data set- Bangladesh's 2010 Household Income and Expenditure Survey. The study used both household level and individual level data and applied a wealth index, which was constructed based on household assets using principal component analysis. The Washington Group's short set of questions on disability were used to measure disability. Chi-square tests and ordinal logistic regression models were fit.
RESULTS: Forty-two percent of older had some form of functional disability, including 5% of elderly with severe/extreme functional disability. Seven percent of older adults had a self-care disability, including 3% of elderly with a severe/extreme form of self-care disability. Elderly females suffered from all the studied disabilities, including functional and self-care disabilities in higher percentages, and had higher odds ratios of having both functional disability and self-care disability compared to elderly males. The study also identified some significant factors affecting functional disability and self-care disability, namely age, having a chronic condition, wealth status and place of residence, including divisional differences.
CONCLUSIONS: Programs aimed at reducing functional disability among seniors, particularly elderly females, should be granted the highest priority in Bangladesh.