Turkish Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2006 , Vol 52 , Num 1

Aspects of Disability in the Elderly

Ender Berker 1
1 İstanbul Üniversitesi İstanbul Tıp Fakültesi Fiziksel Tıp ve Rehabilitasyon Anabilim Dalı, İstanbul, Türkiye

Aging is an inevitable process in the life of every living body and is defined as impaired homeostasis with decreased reserves in every organ system leading to decreased response to stress. Homeostasis is affected by chronic diseases, diet, life-style and genetic factors. Due to the variable effects of these factors the process of aging varies both in organ systems and among individuals. Impaired stres response due to decreased physiologic reserves leads to increased tendency for disability and is defined as frailty. Frailty is the end result of the interaction of the factors like physiologic aging, accumulation of chronic diseases and sedantery life-style. Major physiologic functions like aerobic capacity, cardiovascular endurance, motor strenght and neural integrity as well as psychologic factors like depression and anxiety and social factors like isolation, changing of the roles in the family, the reactions of the family contribute to disability in the aged. A biopsychosocial approach targeting medical, psychologic and social factors is necessary to prevent disability in old age. 

Keywords : Aging, disability, geriatrics