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Chartbook on Women and Disability

Section 6: Women, disability and aging

This section describes the rapidly growing population of elderly women with disabilities. Changes in birth and mortality rates have greatly increased the numbers of older people in this country, especially the numbers of elderly women. Disability-related effects of aging, including personal assistance needs, and rates of independent living, are discussed. As women age, they are more likely to become disabled by a number of medical conditions, compared to men. Some of those conditions that disproportionately cause disability among older women are also covered. Finally, caregiving as a women's issue is discussed.

Topic Questions:

6.1. How do changes in women's life expectancies impact disability rates?

6.2. How does the need for personal assistance differ by age and gender?

6.3. How do age and gender influence the rate of multiple conditions?

6.4. What is the impact of arthritis on women?

6.5. How many women are at risk of disability related to osteoporosis?

6.6. Do women and men have different rates of independent living as they age?

6.7. Who provides care for elderly people with disabilities?