Disability relating to instrumental activities of daily living in the elderly with rheumatic diseases

Abstract Objective: to characterize the sociodemographic profile of elderly persons with arthritis/rheumatism in relation to gender, as well as to estimate the prevalence and factors associated with functional disability for the performance of instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). Method: a cross-sectional population-based study with a sample of 1,136 elderly persons (≥65 years old) from seven Brazilian municipal regions was carried out. Functional capacity was assessed by the self-reports of the elderly in terms of the performance of IADL, using the Lawton Scale. Differences between the genders, according to sociodemographic variables, were verified by the chi-squared test (p<0.05). The prevalence of inability to perform IADL was calculated and the independent associations were verified through multiple logistic regression. Results: the mean age was 72.4 years, 79.1% of the sample were women, and 45.9% of the elderly with arthritis/rheumatism were dependent for the performance of IADL. Differences were observed between the genders in relation to age, marital status, income and household arrangements (p<0.05). A higher prevalence of disability was observed among older elderly persons, those with no schooling and lower incomes, who lived in multigenerational households and who were frail. In the evaluation of the performance of specific activities, elderly persons with arthritis/rheumatism had greater difficulty taking medication (OR: 1,90; CI 95%: 1.19 - 3.06), after adjusting for gender and age. Conclusion: associations were found between functional disability and sociodemographic variables and frailty. Independence in daily activities such as those evaluated in this study is one of the primary conditions for the well-being of the elderly, even in conditions of frailty or chronic diseases.