We studied 1303 of the 1471 elderly people resident in Local Authority homes, NHS long-stay wards (medical and psychiatric), private and voluntary homes and Local Authority sheltered housing or in receipt of augmented domiciliary services in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. Depression and dementia were assessed using the Brief Assessment Schedule and physical functioning by a modified Barthel index. Residents with high levels of dependency were spread throughout the different forms of residential accommodation. There was little disability outside residential care. There was a high prevalence of depression in the study population. These findings are relevant to future plans for services for elderly people.

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