RESEARCH – February 2008

Activity limitations of Estonian adult adult assistance


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THE AIM of this study was to provide an overview of the prevalence of daily activity limitations, their structure and need for additional assistance in Estonian adult population.
METHODS. The study was carried out on the basis of the cross-sectional health questions of the first national survey in Estonia – the Estonian Family and Fertility Survey (EFFS) II, as part of the European FFS. A random sample (n=7855) of the the target population (birth cohorts 1924–1983, of native and foreign origin) was interviewed (face-to-face interview). The replacement procedure, proportionality in respect to the regional, demographic and social composition of the total population and the single-stage selection procedure were opted as the sampling principles. The event history approach was applied. Descriptive statistics, standardization according to whole-sample cohort distribution (Ms Excel), two-sample t-test and χ2-test (STATA) were used in data analysis.
RESULTS. The prevalence of daily activity limitations in Estonian adults was 18.5%. It was quite similar for men and women and increased with age. A moderate rise in the prevalence of limitations in the linear setting appeared in the birth cohort of 1944–1948 in men. The biggest difference in the limitations even after standardization by the whole sample cohort-distribution was revealed between the working population (8.7%) and the nonworking (31%) population. Native inhabitants had considerably more (19.4%) limitations than those of foreign origin (16.6%). All birth cohorts showed a maximum score of activity limitations related to studies and work (15.4% from the total sample). The need for assistance was 10.7% among the total population. Real assistance was received by
8.7% of the total population. Of the persons with severe activity limitations 18.5% did not receive any assistance.
CONCLUSIONS. In Estonia the role of socialized care is modest. Daily activity limitations is an increasing problem among the ageing population. Reasonable planning of resources and sufficient amount of assistance are important factors in ensuring the well-being of the elderly.