The Effects of Multiple Chronic Conditions and Alzheimer’s Disease on the Activities of Daily Living of the Geriatric Population within Residential Care Communities

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The geriatric population is one of the fastest-growing subsets in the United States. They are prone to developing multiple chronic conditions, which impacts their ability to complete activities of daily living (ADLs). As the geriatric population continues to grow and live longer, many seniors seek out long-term care facilities, such as residential care communities (RCCs), to assist them in performing ADLs and regaining independence. This research study examines how multiple chronic conditions impact the number of ADLs an RCC resident needs help with and the required level of assistance. Additionally, this study examines how Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) impacts how many ADLs a resident needs help performing and to what degree because AD is a neurodegenerative condition that impacts cognitive function. Data collected in 2018 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Study (NPALS) was used. The six ADLs reviewed in this study were bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, transferring, and walking. A significant, weak positive correlation was found between the number of chronic conditions a resident has and the total number of ADLs by using a Spearman’s Correlation test (rho(800) = 0.176, p <0.001). An independent samples t-test found significant results showcasing that resident with AD (M ADLs = 4.115, SD = 1.9546) needed help with one additional ADL than residents without AD (M ADLs = 3.032, SD = 1.993) (t(800) = 7.638, p <0.001). Lastly, the final six questions used a Chi-Square Test of Independence to see if the level of assistance required to complete an ADL was dependent or independent of an AD diagnosis. A Bonferroni correction post hoc test supported the significant findings that the level of ADL assistance is dependent on an AD diagnosis. Overall, this study provides an insightful look into how multiple chronic conditions and AD can impact geriatric independence and their ability to complete activities of daily living in residential care communities. These findings can help support future healthcare policies to ensure all members of the geriatric population have the resources and support they need to live a better quality of life despite the limitations caused by having multiple chronic conditions.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Public Health
Public Health