Lunney and coauthors analyzed physical
function data from the last year of life of participants enrolled in the Established
Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly study, a community-based
prospective study of persons aged 65 years and older. Consistent with a previously
published theoretical model, patterns of observed decline in performance of
activities of daily living at the end of life differed among 4 types of illnesses—sudden
death, cancer death, death from organ failure, and frailty.