THE HEART OF THE MATTER
a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA) 

Week: 571.5 Guest: Dr. Richard Suxman, Dir. Office of Demography of Aging, National Institute on Aging, Washington, D.C. Topic: Decline in elderly disability Producer/Host: Steve Girard

NEMA: Staying stronger, longer...coming up...

SPOT: The best emergency? The one that doesn't happen. The National Emergency Medicine Association. Visit us at www.nemahealth.org.

NEMA: The disability rates for older Americans are falling, that from the National Long Term Care surveys....Dr. Richard Suxman of the National Institute on Aging says data from Kenneth Manson and colleagues' at Duke University reflect the past 10 to 15 years...

SUZMAN: Disability levels have been declining... 1.2 - 1.3 percent a year. Very, very important finding, even if the decline is relatively small. Because it accumulates over time.

NEMA: Dr. Suzman says the most important thing is that there are fewer people with disability...

SUZMAN: ...or if they have a chronic illness, they can cope with the disability better...and there's less need for long term care and for family members to pitch in.

NEMA: It's another way of looking proactively at aging...

SUZMAN: ...it gives us some intimation that we can influence the course of aging... and I think this is very, very important.

NEMA: Researchers are investigating contributing factors now. I'm Steve Girard at The Heart of the Matter.