Poor housing associated with lower functionality among older adults

Recent research has highlighted how poor housing conditions in the elderly have been associated with higher risk of falls, worse respiratory and mental health, and higher risk of disease-specific and all-cause mortality. Few studies have systematically evaluated the association between housing conditions and physical function limitations in older adults. The present study, driven by members of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health of the Autonomous University of Madrid, systematically assessed the association between poor housing conditions and physical function limitations in older adults. It evaluated if the apparent associations held after educational and occupational levels had been considered. Data from the Seniors-ENRICA cohort (2614 non-institutionalized individuals aged 60 years and older and living across Spain) showed how living in a walk-up building was associated with a higher frequency of frailty, a lack of heating was linked to increased feelings of exhaustion. The associations were not explained by the educational or occupational level of study participants, and revealed serious inequalities in functional status among older adults. The authors concluded that improving housing conditions may help maintain physical function in older adults.



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