Developments in Brief : An Old Myth Exploded on Frailty of Aged
Americans over 65 are commonly thought to be frail and ill, but in fact most live vigorous, active, independent lives, a new study concludes.
Epidemiologist Judith B. Cohen of the University of California, San Francisco, told a recent conference of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science that “only 5% are in institutions.”
Even among the “old, old,” people over 85, three out of four can walk without help and 80% can dress and bathe themselves.
Among Cohen’s other findings: Older people are more likely to retire because of company policies than ill health; three out of four people over 65 own their homes, and most have paid them off; most men over 65 are married and live with their wives; most women over 65 are widowed, and many live alone; few older people want to live with their children, although most see them frequently, and about 1 million Americans need “major assistance” in household chores to remain independent.