Physical activities can help elderly people avoid social care expenses
Washington D.C. [USA], Oct 18 : Increasing exercising activities can help elderly people to reduce the need for costly social care, a new study suggested.The research showed that concerted effort to encourage older people to stay active can help them live more independently and reduce the need for social care during the golden years of their lives.
Study author Scarlett McNally and colleagues explained, "Exercising can reverse the decline and keep a person above the threshold for needing increased care."
They argue that the effects of ageing are often confused with loss of fitness - and it is actually loss of fitness that increases the risk of need social care.
Figures show that a 25 percent of women and 20 percent of men in the UK report doing no activity at all in a week, let alone the recommended minimum 150 minutes to maintain health.
Yet they point to evidence showing that middle aged and older people "can increase their fitness level to that of an average person a decade younger by regular exercise".
Further evidence also showed that growing fitness improves cognitive (mental) ability and reduces the risk of dementia.
Gyms, walking groups, gardening, cooking clubs, and volunteering have all been shown to improve the health and wellbeing of people at all ages with long term conditions.
They also call for changes to environments and expectations "to make exercise possible for middle aged and older people, including open spaces and facilities for active travel."
The increase in the level of ability "may not only restore the person to the ability they enjoyed 10 years earlier, it may make the crucial difference between living well at home or being dependent on social care or residential care," they concluded.
The research is published in British Medical Journal.