SeniorJournal.com - Daily News for Senior Citizens

  FRONT PAGE • Aging • Health • Alzheimer's - Mental • Nutrition • Medicare & Medicaid • Politics  • Fitness  • Social Security • Alerts • Sex Health • Features • Retirement • Elder Care  >Search  >Senior Links

Senior Journal: Today's News and Information for Senior Citizens & Baby Boomers

More Senior Citizen News and Information Than Any Other Source - SeniorJournal.com

• Go to more on Aging News & Information or More Senior News on the Front Page

 
 

E-mail this page to a friend!

Aging News & Information

Senior Citizens Most Involved with Social Activity Least Likely to Become Disabled

Seniors reporting a high level of social activity about twice as likely to remain free of a disability involving activities of daily living

Feb. 17, 2011 - Afraid of becoming disabled in old age, not being able to dress yourself, or walk up and down the stairs? Staying physically active before symptoms set-in could help. But so could going out to eat, playing bingo and taking overnight trips, according to a new study of senior citizens with an average age of 82.

According to research conducted at Rush University Medical Center, higher levels of social activity are associated with a decreased risk of becoming disabled. The study has just been posted online and will be published in the April issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

 

Related Archive Stories

 

 

Senior Citizen Longevity & Statistics

How You Live Life More Critical to Longevity Than Genetics, Finds New Swedish Study

Long running study of elderly men finds longevity traits established before 60s - Feb. 7, 2011


Regular Exercise Increases Muscle Stem Cells to Renew Aging Muscles, Study Says

‘We can let ourselves dream about creating a new drug for humans — one that could increase muscle mass and ameliorate the negative effects of aging’ - Dec. 1, 2010


Getting Older Leads to Emotional Stability, Happiness, Says Stanford Study

Are American senior citizens who say they're happy simply part of an era that predisposed them to good cheer? Or do most people – whether born and raised in boom times or busts – have it within themselves to reach their golden years with a smile?

By Adam Gorlick, Stanford

Oct. 28, 2010


Rate of Aging for Older People May Depend On How Old They Feel Like They Are

If you feel old beyond your chronological years you are probably going to experience a lot of the downsides associated with aging

March 2, 2010


Read the latest news on

Aging

 

"Social activity has long been recognized as an essential component of healthy aging, but now we have strong evidence that it is also related to better everyday functioning and less disability in old age," said lead researcher Bryan James, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in the epidemiology of aging and dementia in the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center.

"The findings are exciting because social activity is potentially a risk factor that can be modified to help older adults avoid the burdens of disability."

The study included 954 older adults with a mean age of 82 who are participating in the Rush Memory and Aging Project, an ongoing longitudinal study of common chronic conditions of aging. At the start of the investigation, none of the participants had any form of disability. They each underwent yearly evaluations that included a medical history and neurological and neuropsychological tests.

Social activity was measured based on a questionnaire that assessed whether, and how often, participants went to restaurants, sporting events or the teletract (off-track betting) or played bingo; went on day trips or overnight trips; did volunteer work; visited relatives or friends; participated in groups such as the Knights of Columbus; or attended religious services.

To assess disability, participants were asked whether they could perform six activities of daily living without help: feeding, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring and walking across a small room.

They were also asked whether they could perform three tasks that require mobility and strength: walking up and down a flight of stairs, walking a half mile and doing heavy housework.

Finally, they were asked about their ability to perform what are referred to as "instrumental" activities of daily living, such as using the telephone, preparing meals and managing medications. Difficulties with household management and mobility are more common and represent less severe disability than difficulty with self-care tasks, so the measures represented a range of disability.

Results showed that a person who reported a high level of social activity was about twice as likely to remain free of a disability involving activities of daily living than a person with a low level of social activity, and about 1.5 times as likely to remain free of disability involving instrumental activities of daily living or mobility.

Why social activity plays a role in the development of disability is not clear, James said. Possibly, social activity may reinforce the neural networks and musculoskeletal function required to maintain functional independence.

Future research is needed to determine whether interventions aimed at increasing late-life social activity can play a part in delaying or preventing disability, James said.

Other researchers at Rush involved in the study were Patricia Boyle, PhD, Dr. Aron Buchman and Dr. David Bennett.

Rush is a not-for-profit academic medical center comprising Rush University Medical Center, Rush University, Rush Oak Park Hospital and Rush Health.

 

Search for more about this topic on SeniorJournal.com

Google Web SeniorJournal.com
 

Keep up with the latest news for senior citizens, baby boomers

Click to More Senior News on the Front Page

Copyright: SeniorJournal.com

    

 

Published by New Tech Media - www.NewTechMedia.com

Other New Tech Media sites include CaroleSutherland.com, BethJanicek.com, SASeniors.com, DrugDanger.com, etc.