Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A cross-sectional survey of functional status among elderly Hong Kong Chinese aged 70 years and over was carried out to estimate the current burden of disability. Two thousand and thirty-two subjects (999 men, 1033 women) were recruited by random sampling of the old age and disability allowance schemes covering over 90% of the elderly population, stratified by sex and 5-year age groups. Functional ability was administered using the Barthel Index. The duration of disability, if any, was also noted. The prevalence of disability for different activities of daily living varied from 0.8% to 26% (lowest for feeding and highest for climbing stairs and bathing). The prevalence was higher for women than men, and higher in the older age group for both sexes. Men in the 80+ age group had shorter duration of disability compared with those in the 70-79 age group, and compared with women. Using disability years (estimated number of elderly with disability in the population x median duration of disability) as an estimate of disability burden, the number ranges from approximately 19,000 (inability to feed) to 100,000 (inability to climb stairs). This estimate may be useful in the planning of service provisions for the formal and informal care sector.

Original publication




Journal article


Disabil Rehabil

Publication Date





609 - 612


Activities of Daily Living, Age Distribution, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, China, Chronic Disease, Cross-Sectional Studies, Disabled Persons, Female, Hong Kong, Humans, Male, Prevalence, Sex Distribution, Statistics, Nonparametric