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Chartbook on Disability in the U.S.

Section 4: Disability, the Elderly, Children and Youth

4.2. How many older people need assistance with activities of daily living?

Over 5 million people age 65 and older need assistance in IADL (instrumental activities of daily living) or ADL (activities of daily living). The percentage of people in any given age range needing help with ADL (activities of daily living) doesn't rise above 10% until age 85, when it jumps to 20.0%. Similarly, the percentage of those needing assistance in IADL (instrumental activities of daily living) only doesn't rise above 10% until age 75 (13.9% for 75-84; 22.3% for 85 and over). The numbers of people who need assistance, however, is not insignificant in younger age groups. Over 1.0 million 25-44 year olds need assistance in IADL only and another 477,000 need assistance in ADL. Almost 1.6 million 45-64 year olds need assistance in IADL only, and 684,000 more in ADL.

The need for assistance increases later in life.

Figure 4.2

Source: LaPlante, 1996

Survey: NHIS, 1992

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