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Wheelchair use among community-dwelling older adults: Prevalence and risk factors in a national sample

Publication Abstract

Clarke, Philippa J., and A. Colantonio. 2005. "Wheelchair use among community-dwelling older adults: Prevalence and risk factors in a national sample." Canadian Journal of Aging, 24(2): 191-8.

Older adults are the largest group of wheelchair users yet there are no peer-reviewed studies on the national profile of older wheelchair users in Canada. We investigated the characteristics of wheelchair users in a national sample of community-dwelling older adults from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging (CSHA-2). Questions on the use of assistive technology were asked of 5395 Canadians (over 64), and 4.6 per cent reported using a wheelchair. Logistic regression was used to model the factors associated with wheelchair use. Controlling for age, gender, and cognitive impairment, older adults who reported greater dependence in basic self-care and instrumental activities of daily living were more likely to use a wheelchair. However, the effects of self-care dependence on wheelchair use varied by gender, with men more likely than women to use wheelchairs with increasing self-care dependence. The number of chronic health conditions and being unmarried also increased the odds of wheelchair use. This paper quantifies the risk of wheelchair use according to critical factors that can be used to project use and plan for services.

Country of focus: Canada.

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