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Feeling Older Can Increase Risk of Hospitalization

By Rick Cohen, 9:00 am on

If you feel older than your peers, according to recent research, you’re more likely to spend more time in the hospital than seniors embracing their inner youthful vigor. The latest findings go a step further than previous research to suggest a correlation between general wellbeing and a person’s perception of their age in comparison to their actual age.

Indicating the Likelihood of Future Hospitalization

The study these findings are based on includes an evaluation of approximately 10,000 patients of varying ages spanning nearly 20 years. Those who self-assessed themselves as feeling older than their real age were 10-25 percent more likely to be hospitalized within the next 2-10 years.

A Noticeable Reduction in Physical and Mental Health

The reason for the correlation with subjective interpretation of age and hospitalization is an association with feeling older and diminished physical and mental health. As a result, there’s a tendency to require more medical attention and experience ailments necessitating hospitalization. In general, people with an older “feels like” age are more likely to:

  • Exhibit earlier cognitive decline
  • Have a fairly sedentary lifestyle
  • Feel pessimistic about existing conditions
  • Experience some degree of depression
  • Fail to get regular exercise

Health History Plays a Role in Self-Age Assessment

The study also took health history into account, which included a self-assessment of both physical and mental health. The findings echo related studies suggesting that seniors with ongoing health issues are more likely to have a negative outlook. According to senior care agencies in Milwaukee, similar results can be found in studies concerning individuals with recurring conditions such as chronic back pain.

Research like this emphasizes the fact that healthcare involves more than just an observation of symptoms. Determining how seniors interpret their age could help doctors recommend exercise programs and other steps, such as the participation in appropriate support groups, to encourage beneficial habits and positive attitudes.

If you’re concerned your senior loved one lacks the support he or she needs to maintain a healthy, happy life, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We offer a range of comprehensive care services, including dementia and Alzheimer’s home care in Milwaukee, flexible care schedules, and customized care plans. For more information, give our office a call at (414) 964-8000 and request a free in-home consultation.