Structural disadvantage and (un)successful ageing: gender differences in activities of daily living for older people in Chile
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Discourses on successful ageing have changed the way older age is viewed and the possibilities associated with it. However, such discourses do not always take into account differential capacities and resources that may shape disadvantage for women. The aim of this article is to examine gender differences in the experience of difficulties carrying out basic and instrumental activities of daily living (ADLs) in community-living people over the age of 65, using Chile as a case study. We also examine the effect of healthcare provider on performance of ADLs. We carried out logistic regressions on cross-sectional data from a sample of over 33,000 men and women, drawn from the 2015 National Socioeconomic Characterisation Survey, conducted by the Ministry of Social Development of the Government of Chile. We found significant gender differences in experiences of performing ADLs for older people in Chile, with women consistently reporting more problems than men. The affiliation with the public health provider was also associated with gender differences. The results of our study indicate that women in Chile experience structural disadvantage in their efforts to age successfully, reporting higher levels of functional limitations. We argue that it is important that gender-sensitive public health initiatives be developed, focusing on the prevention of functional disability.
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