Health is more than absence of active disease. What matters most to people is how well they can function in the life they wish to lead.
The functional assessment is a core part of the older personís assessment, for a number of reasons:
(1) As patients live longer with chronic conditions, they survive longer periods with functional impairments that require some sort of medical and social response
(2) Society places emphasis on autonomy and independence, both of which are directly threatened by functional disability
(3) In older people, the first sign of a medical problem is commonly manifest as a change in functional status.