Room for Optimism from Generational Hardship: Trends in Disability and Living Conditions among Spanish Elderly

Antonio D. Cámara, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Ainhoa Alustiza, Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED)
Amand Blanes, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Teresa Menacho, Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED)

This paper aims to provide the historical basis to analyze and interpret recent trends and future scenarios of disability among the elderly in Spain. To do so, we contextualize the life cycle of this population in terms of work and living conditions. Such a life course, and particularly critical periods like infancy and adolescence that strongly influence basic health components in later life, was mostly characterized by structural scarcity and deficits in sanitary conditions. To be sure, all the elderly surveyed by the modern Spanish sanitary system were born before the transition to affluence (illustratively, food security was attained by the middle of the 1950s). By applying a cohort approach from health interview survey microdata, the aim is to find out whether significant variations in functional limitation have happened within the elderly. Results mostly show downward cohort trends for females and no solid evidence of a worsening is depicted either among males or females.

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Presented in Session 87: Disability Trends and Dynamics - International and Comparative Perspectives