Latent dependency classes according to the need for help: a population-based analysis for the older population

Document Type


Publication Date



Background: Older adults living in the community may have daily needs for help to perform different types of activities. In developing countries, older adults face the additional challenge of lacking sufficient economic means to face their increasing needs with ageing, and health and social policies may be under pressure. The aim of this study was to assess dependency in the older population from a developing country using a latent class approach to identify heterogeneity in the type of activities in which dependent older adults require help. Methods: In this cross-sectional evaluation of dependency, we considered individuals aged 60 years and older from a nationally representative study (N = 5138) in Uruguay. We fitted latent class regressions to analyse dependency, measured by the need for help to perform Activities of Daily Living, adjusted by sociodemographic characteristics. Results: Four latent classes were identified, 86.4% of the individuals were identified as non-dependent, 7.4% with help requirements to perform instrumental activities while individuals in the other two classes need help to perform all types of activities with different degrees (4.3 and 1.9%). Less educated women are more likely to be in the group with needs in instrumental activities. Conclusions: The heterogeneous patterns of dependency have to be addressed with different services that meet the specific needs of dependent older adults.