Purpose: This population-based study aimed to determine 5-year change in multidimensional QoL among community-dwelling older people, and to identify predictors of QoL change among demographic, socioeconomic, and health characteristics.
Methods: Data of the 2011 and 2016 annual assessments of 1845 older men and women (age range 68-77 years) from the Lc65 + cohort study were used. QoL was assessed using a 28-item instrument yielding a QoL overall score and seven domain-specific QoL subscores. Additional ratings of QoL included a single item (excellent; very good; good; fair; poor), expected QoL in 1 year (better; worse; same as today), and retrospective assessment of QoL 5-year change (better; worse; same as 5 years ago). The predictors of 5-year change in the QoL score were assessed using linear regression, controlling for baseline QoL score.
Results: All prospective and retrospective indicators of QoL converged towards a slight deterioration over 5 years. QoL subscores significantly decreased in domains "Close entourage" (P = 0.004), "Social and cultural life" (P < 0.001), "Esteem and recognition" (P = 0.001), "Health and mobility" (P < 0.001), and "Autonomy" (P < 0.001), whereas "Material resources" (P = 0.345) and "Feeling of safety" (P = 0.380) remained stable. A stronger decrease in QoL was observed in the most vulnerable profiles at baseline in terms of demographic, socioeconomic, and health characteristics. Changes in depressive symptoms and in disability-either worsening or improving-predicted QoL change in the expected direction.
Conclusions: Age-related decline in QoL may be limited through the prevention of disability and depressive symptoms, and more generally by devoting special attention to vulnerable profiles.
Keywords: Cohort studies; Epidemiology of ageing; Gerontology; Quality of life.