Changes in morbidity and chronic disability in the U.S. elderly population: evidence from the 1982, 1984, and 1989 National Long Term Care Surveys

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 1995 Jul;50(4):S194-204. doi: 10.1093/geronb/50b.4.s194.


We examined changes in the reported prevalence of 16 medical conditions in the U.S. population age 65 and above using data from the 1982, 1984, and 1989 National Long Term Care Surveys. Changes in those disease prevalence rates were examined both as observed, and after standardizing for changes in the age, sex, and disability distributions in the U.S. elderly population between 1982 and 1989. We found significant declines in the net prevalence of the 16 medical conditions between 1982 and 1989. Significant changes were found in different disability, age, and gender groups and after standardizing for declines in disability in addition to age and sex. The declines in morbidity reported between 1982 and 1989 are consistent with the declines reported in the 1982 and 1989 National Long Term Care Surveys in the age and sex standardized prevalence of chronic disability and institutionalization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Morbidity / trends*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution
  • United States / epidemiology