Maintaining functional independence in elderly adults: The roles of health status and financial resources in predicting home modifications and use of mobility equipment

Kathleen M. Mathieson, Jennie Jacobs Kronenfeld, Verna M. Keith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations


Purpose: We investigated whether health status (i.e., need characteristics) and financial resources (i.e., enabling characteristics) were important predictors of two types of functional adaptations among elderly adults: home modifications such as putting nonslip tape on rugs or installing more telephones and use of equipment for mobility or activities of daily living (ADLs) such as canes or walkers. Design and Methods: Participants were identified from the National Survey of Self-Care and Aging (n = 3,485), a nationally representative sample of noninstitutionalized U.S. adults aged 65 and older. Need and enabling characteristics were used to predict home modifications and equipment use in multinomial logistic analysis, controlling for predisposing characteristics. Results: Although several health-status (need) variables had significant, direct effects on functional adaptations, the effects of ADL limitations were diminished at higher levels of impairment. Among the financial (enabling) variables, subjective income measures and supplemental insurance had significant, direct effects on functional adaptations. Implications: Promotion of functional adaptations among elderly people may benefit from both a proactive approach that targets elders with few limitations and a consideration of financial factors in addition to health status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-31
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002



  • Disability
  • Elderly adults
  • Functional adaptations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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