Vicki Freedman

Vicki FreedmanStudies looking at how well seniors adapt to disability usually put them in one of two categories: independent or disabled. But a new study of more than 8,000 seniors receiving Medicare, including a small group of nursing home residents, divided those studied into five categories, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of how the elderly are coping and what help they might need, according to a Dec. 23 article in The New York Times. ISR researcher Vicki Freedman, lead author of the study, told the Times that the study provided the first look at the substantial number of elderly (25 percent) who have successfully adapted to limitations. It also identified two groups who either have reduced their activities without admitting to barriers (6 percent) or who are struggling to use assistive devices (18 percent)—groups that are vulnerable to losing their independence. “Finding ways to promote independence and well-being in these groups, now that we’ve identified them, is an important public health goal,” Freedman said.