One in five older people experience functional limitations

One in five people agedd 55-80 years in the Netherlands experienced one or more functional limitations in 2007. Mobility problems were the most common, although the number of older people with these problems has decreased since 1996. The lower someone’s education level or income, the more physical difficulties he or she is likely to experience.

Women have more problems

Older women experience more functional limitations than older men. One quarter of women encounter physical problems, compared with 16 percent of men. The problems increase as people get older. In 2007, 14 percent of 55-60 year-olds reported experiencing some functional difficulty, for 75-80 year-olds this was 38 percent.

Physical problems by sex and age, 2007


Fewer mobility problems

The most common physical problems concern mobility, followed by sight and hearing complaints. In the last decade the percentage of older people with one or more physical ailments has fallen. This is mainly because fewer people in this age group have mobility problems. In 1996, 18 percent of older people had mobility problems, in 2007 this had fallen to 14 percent.

Mobility, sight and hearing ailments of older people


Lower educated more likely to experience difficulties

The lower the education level or income, the more physical difficulties people are likely to experience. One in three older people in the lowest income classes or with only primary education experience physical problems. For people in the highest income classes or with higher education levels, this is 12 percent.

Physical problems of older people by annual income and education, 2004/2006


Marleen Wingen