As the United States' population ages, more and more elderly individuals will lose the ability to function independently. They will need help to do activities usually taken for granted, such as dressing, eating or bathing. The impact of this dependence on quality of life in the elderly population has not been widely studied. As medical treatments advance that may actually prevent or treat conditions that lead to independence, it is important to take into account the improvement in quality of life that the treatment provides. This project interviews elderly adults in order to measure how important it is to them to be independent in daily life. The researchers hope that this information will be included in future studies that determine the impact of medical treatments and interventions.
The project uses an innovative multimedia program to describe health states of dependency in the activities of daily living, and to elicit "standard gamble" preference ratings. The study develops new methodologies for analysis of inconsistency in preference ratings, predictive models for preference from simple questionnaires and demographic data, and applies the estimated preference measures to cost-effectiveness.