Geriatric Examination Tool Kit

Late Life Function and Disability Instrument

The Late-Life FDI was developed at the Roybal Center for Enhancement of Late Life Function of Boston University, with support from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging ( Grant Number AG11669 ).

Function component

Disability component

Scoring manual can be purchased from:

1. What does The Late-Life FDI assess?
The Late-Life FDI is an evaluative outcome instrument for community-dwelling older adults. It is designed to assess and be responsive to meaningful change in two distinct outcomes: function and disability. Functional limitations pertain to limitations in a person's ability to do discrete actions or activities. Disability refers to a person's performance of socially defined life tasks expected of an individual within a typical sociocultural and physical environment.

2. How was The Late-Life FDI developed?
Using Nagi's disablement model, we developed questions that assess difficulty in physical function and frequency and limitation in performance of life tasks. We constructed the instrument using factor analysis and Rasch analytic techniques and evaluated its validity and test retest reliability with 150 ethnically and racially diverse adults aged 60 years and older who had a range of functional limitations. The resulting instrument is composed of a sixteen-item disability component with two dimensions, frequency of performance and limitation in performance of life tasks and a 32-item function component with three domains, upper extremity, basic lower extremity, and advanced lower extremity functions. Both the disability and function components had a high to moderate test-retest stability rate.

3. How is the The Late-Life FDI administered?
Is it possible to use one component of the instrument without the other (i.e. using just the function component), however to capture a comprehensive representation of an older adult's capabilities and performance levels in everyday life, we suggest using both components. The Late-Life FDI was originally designed for an interview setting, where an interviewer administers the questionnaire to the participant and gives the participant visual aids (large print outs of response options) to guide in selecting the appropriate response. Self-administration of the instrument is also possible but this method has not been tested and may be problematic for those who have poor vision or writing difficulties.