The ability to manage basic activities of daily living (ADL) is a significant predictor for being housebound, placement in a nursing home and death. The aim of the study was to assess the capacity to perform activities of daily living in the Spanish sample (30 men and 49 women aged 80-85 y) from SENECA's Finale study (1999) and changes respect to the same sample ten years ago. The total ADL score (assessed by 16 questions) and the partials (mobility ADLm and self-care ADLc) show that the total ADL average in 1999 has been 23.9+/-10.2 (p<0.05) and 25.3+/-9.6 (p<0.001), being in 1989, 18.8+/-4.4 and 19.9+/-4.8 for men and women respectively. The ADL score from deceased subjects participating in 1989 was significantly worse (p<0.01 in men and p<0.001 in women) than ADL score from survivor subjects. Activities of daily living as a measurement of functionality decline with increasing age and in our study a better ADL score was found as survival factor.