Published Papers - Abstract 491

McLaughlin D, Leung J, Byles J & Dobson A. Living with stairs: Functioning in a large cohort of older Australian men and women. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2011; 59(8): 1560-1562

Stair climbing has been encouraged as a health promotion measure in the general population, and health benefits have been demonstrated in young people, but these benefits may not extend to older adults, and living in a building with stairs may prove challenging for older adults. This study aimed to examine health-related difficulties with stairs in a large, prospective cohort study of older adults. The hypothesis was that older adults with a chronic condition and without a partner would report greater difficulty in managing stairs.In this large community sample of older adults aged 82 to 87, it was found that women were more likely than men to report that their health limited them in climbing several flights or one flight of stairs. Overall, older adults who were unpartnered or who had a chronic condition were more likely to experience difficulty in managing stairs.In a sample of adults aged 82 to 87, women reported greater difficulty with stairs than men. In addition, adults without partners and those with a chronic condition had greater difficulty managing one or more flights of stairs. The identification of these groups could be useful for targeting interventions.