NHATS Data Show Older Adults Lack Even Simple, Helpful Equipment (NYT)

an In The Media Appearance

"Many Older Adults Lack Even Simple, Helpful Equipment" - New York Times. 04/23/2021

National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) data used in study featured in NYT story, “Many Older Adults Lack Even Simple, Helpful Equipment.”

“Railings, grab bars, shower chairs and other inexpensive devices can make it easier to continue living at home, but not enough older people acquire them.”

“A team at the University of California, San Francisco, combed through national data and came up with an estimate, recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine: About 12 million people over 65, living in their own homes, could use equipment to help them safely bathe and use the toilet, two of the activities disabled older people most commonly struggle with. But about five million of them don’t have those items, even though they generally cost less than $50.”

“Looking at Medicare beneficiaries in the National Health and Aging Trends Study in 2015, the researchers identified more than 2,600 people (average age: about 80) who needed such devices, based on measures like holding onto walls as they walked and being unable to rise unassisted from a chair.”

The Michigan Center on the Demography of Aging (MiCDA) Virtual Data Enclave provides secure access to restricted data on aging including NHATS geographic data. NHATS is supported by the National Institute on Aging Division of Behavioral and Social Research.


Lam K, Shi Y, Boscardin J, Covinsky KE. Unmet Need for Equipment to Help With Bathing and Toileting Among Older US AdultsJAMA Intern Med. Published online March 22, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.0204

Related Resources

National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS)