Links Between Chronic Illness and Late-Life Cognition: Evidence From Four Latin American Countries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: We explored the links between chronic diseases and cognitive ability using datasets of community-dwelling older adults from Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Uruguay from the SABE (Health, Well-Being, and Aging) survey. Methods: Ordinary least squares (OLS), Tobit and linear probability models, adjusting for extensive health and socio-demographic factors, were implemented separately for men and women and complemented by a series of robustness checks. Results: We find a negative association between the number of chronic conditions and cognitive decline that has the following characteristics: (a) differs across gender, (b) increases with the number of chronic conditions, (c) is larger among those individuals in the bottom of the cognitive distribution, (d) and is different across types of chronic conditions. Discussion: These results suggest that returns from preventive policies to reduce cognitive decline would increase if they were targeted to seniors with chronic conditions and implemented before the impact from multiple comorbidities makes the cognitive decline too steep to be reversed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-304
Number of pages43
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Keywords

  • aging
  • chronic conditions
  • cognition
  • cognitive decline
  • Latin America

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Community and Home Care
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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