The effect of the onset of difficulties with activities of daily living (ADLs) on the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of older adults is not well understood. We identified strong longitudinal associations between ADL onset and HRQoL changes for older adults in Medicare Advantage Organizations (MAOs).
We analyzed 473,282 age-eligible MAO beneficiaries in the 2008-2013 Medicare Health Outcomes Surveys (M-HOS) who reported no ADL difficulties at baseline and completed their two-year follow-ups in 2010-2015. The four HRQoL measures were the physical and mental health component scores (PCS and MCS) from the SF-12V, and the CDC's counts of physically unhealthy and mentally unhealthy days (PUD and MUD) in the past month. Ordinary least squares (OLS) and zero-inflated negative binomial regressions were used.
The onset of difficulty/inability in bathing, dressing, eating, getting in/out of chairs, walking, and using the toilet significantly reduced PCS scores by 10.84, 11.29, 9.18, 8.98, 9.49 and 10.67 points, and MCS scores by 7.93, 8.72, 10.13, 5.34, 4.37 and 9.00 points, respectively. The onset of difficulty/inability in bathing, dressing, eating, getting in/out of chairs, walking, and using the toilet increased PUD days by 6.24, 6.83, 6.34, 4.93, 4.96 and 6.72 days, and MUD days by 3.00, 3.19, 3.54, 2.26, 2.07 and 3.27 days, respectively.
There is robust evidence that the onset of ADL difficulties/inabilities significantly and substantially reduced age-eligible MAO beneficiaries' HRQoL. Prevention strategies focused on ADLs would benefit the performance of MAOs.