Self-care and assistance from others in coping with functional status limitations among a national sample of older adults. Academic Article uri icon


  • Using data from the first wave of a new longitudinal data set collected in the late fall and winter of 1990-1991, the National Survey of Self-Care and Aging (NSSCA), we examined older adults' self-care practices in coping with functional status limitations based on in-person interviews with a national probability sample of 3,485 noninstitutionalized adults aged 65 or older selected from Medicare beneficiary files. A composite score of functional status was calculated to reflect the presence and severity of disability in three dimensions: basic, mobility, and instrumental activities of daily living. Three types of self-care coping strategies were defined: use of equipment or devices, changes in behavior, and modifications in one's environment. National estimates of self-care practices, assistance from others, and functional status measures were presented. Data revealed that the likelihood of engaging in self-care coping strategies increased as the severity of disability increased, except among the most severely disabled. Generally, those receiving assistance from others were more likely to engage in self-care activities, suggesting that receiving assistance supplements, rather than supplants, self-care coping strategies.

published proceedings

  • J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci

altmetric score

  • 7

author list (cited authors)

  • Norburn, J. E., Bernard, S. L., Konrad, T. R., Woomert, A., DeFriese, G. H., Kalsbeek, W. D., Koch, G. G., & Ory, M. G.

citation count

  • 88

complete list of authors

  • Norburn, JE||Bernard, SL||Konrad, TR||Woomert, A||DeFriese, GH||Kalsbeek, WD||Koch, GG||Ory, MG

publication date

  • March 1995