University of Oulu

Karppinen, H., Pitkälä, K., Kautiainen, H., Tilvis, R., Valvanne, J., Yoder, K., Strandberg, T. (2017) Changes in disability, self-rated health, comorbidities and psychological wellbeing in community-dwelling 75–95-year-old cohorts over two decades in Helsinki. Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, 35 (3), 279-285. doi:10.1080/02813432.2017.1358855

Changes in disability, self-rated health, comorbidities and psychological wellbeing in community-dwelling 75–95-year-old cohorts over two decades in Helsinki

Saved in:
Author: Karppinen, Helena1; Pitkälä, Kaisu H.1; Kautiainen, Hannu1,2;
Organizations: 1General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital
2Primary Health Care Unit, Kuopio University Hospital
3Geriatrics, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital
4School of Medicine, University of Tampere, Tampere University Hospital
5Gerontology Research Center, Universities of Jyväskylä and Tampere
6Institute of Health Sciences/Geriatrics, University of Oulu, Oulu University Hospital
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Informa, 2017
Publish Date: 2017-11-06


Objective: To explore changes in self-reported disabilities, health, comorbidities and psychological wellbeing (PWB) in aged cohorts over two decades.

Design, setting and subjects: Cross-sectional cohort studies with postal surveys were conducted among community-dwelling people aged 75, 80, 85, 90 and 95 years in 1989 (n = 660), 1999 (n = 2598) and 2009 (n = 1637) in Helsinki, Finland.

Main outcome measures: Self-reported items on disability, self-rated health (SRH), diagnoses and PWB were compared between cohorts of the same age. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were calculated for each study year to explore the representativeness of the samples compared to general population of same age.

Results: A significantly lower proportion of the 75–85-year-olds of the later study years reported going outdoors daily, although this group had improvements in both SRH and PWB scores. The number of comorbidities increased over time among 75–85-year-olds. The only significant change that could be verified among 90- and 95-year-olds between 1999 and 2009, was the lower proportion of participants going outdoors daily. The trend of leveling-off in disabilities was not explained by the SMRs (0.90, 0.71 and 0.60 for 1989, 1999 and 2009).

Conclusions: The latest older people’s cohorts showed an end to previously reported improvements in disabilities, despite having favorable trends in SRH and PWB. Primary care may be faced with increasing need of appropriate services for their senior members.

see all

Series: Scandinavian journal of primary health care
ISSN: 0281-3432
ISSN-E: 1502-7724
ISSN-L: 0281-3432
Volume: 35
Issue: 3
Pages: 279 - 285
DOI: 10.1080/02813432.2017.1358855
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: The study was supported by the Academy of Finland (Grant 48613), the Lions Organization (Punainen Sulka-Red Feather), the Ragnar Ekberg Foundation, Frimurarstiftelse, the Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research and Helsinki University Central Hospital.
Copyright information: © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.