Measurements: activities of daily living (ADL); instrumental activities of daily living (IADL); a battery of self-report measures, including involvement in leisure activities, satisfaction with home-environment, social networks and self-rated health.
Results: functional disability in ADL decreased between the cohorts (13.9 versus 5.6%, P < 0.001). Functional disability in IADL also decreased between the cohorts (33.4 versus 13.0%, P < 0.001). Combining ADL and IADL resulted in an overall decreased dependency, with the largest decrease seen in women (42.3 versus 15.1%, P < 0.001). Involvement in leisure activities increased between the cohorts. For example, the proportion going on international and domestic holiday travels increased (6.3 versus 16.2%, P < 0.001), and the proportion who independently drove their own car also increased (10.0 versus 53.0%, P < 0.001).
Conclusion: later born cohorts of 75-year-olds are less dependent in ADL and more engaged in leisure activities compared with earlier cohorts. Later born cohorts of 75-year-olds are thus better equipped to maintain a non-age-related identity compared with earlier cohorts. Our findings might serve as a reason to adopt a more positive view to ageing in a world with an increasing number of older people.