Active, social seniors less likely to become disabled in old age

By Patricia Grace

Aging with Grace

Aging with Grace has long been a proponent of congregent living precisely because of the importance of social interaction and physical activity for the elderly. Many adult children assume that keeping their parents at home is the best choice, yet often it is not.

The following information is taken from an article on McKnights Long Term Care and will be published in the April issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

Older adults who remain as physically and socially active as possible have a better chance of not becoming disabled in their elderly years. In a study of 954 older adults with a mean age of 82 who were not classified as disabled, researchers asked participants to report how often they went out to eat, attended sports events, played bingo, took weekend trips, did volunteer work, etc.

They assessed participants' disabilities by asking them about daily task performance including bathing, preparing meals, dressing, walking, doing housework, going up and down stairs. They were assessed based on whether they could perform tasks unassisted.

The study found that seniors who were highly active were twice as likely to remain independent and disability-free for longer than their less active counterparts.