Seniors Suffer Less From Mental Decline Today than they did Before, Study Reports
As people age, the majority of them experience some degree of mental decline, whether is it a simple memory mishap or severe dementia. In a new study, researchers found that mental decline for seniors who reached 90-years-old appear to be less severe when compared to seniors who reached 90-years-old a decade earlier. This study suggests that mental health for seniors could be somewhat improving.
In this large-scale study, researchers, with lead investigator, Kaare Christensen, who is a professor of epidemiology at the University of Southern Denmark and director of the Danish Aging Research Center, compared two groups of senior citizens who were in their 90s, otherwise known as nonagenarians. The sample set came from Denmark. The researchers found that participants who were born in 1915 performed better on mental tests than participants who were born a decade before. The researchers also discovered that not only did the group born later have better cognitive function, the group also performed better on every day activities that involve motor skills. Although a lot can change in one decade, the researchers specifically controlled for the education level factor.
"[People born later] still performed better in the cognitive measures, which suggests that changes in other factors such as nutrition, burden of infectious disease, work environment, intellectual stimulation and general living conditions also play an important part in the improvement of cognitive functioning," the study wrote according to USA Today.
The researchers also found that the group born a decade later had a 23 percent increased chance of surviving to age 93. This percentage jumped to 32 percent when the researchers compared the chances of surviving up to 95-years-old between the groups.
"If this development were to continue, the future functional problems and care needs of very elderly people might be less than are anticipated on the basis of the present-day burden of disability," the study wrote.
The researchers compiled data for group one from 2,262 men and women who were born in 1905. They were interviewed in 1998 when they were either 92 or 93-years-old. The second group was made up of a total of 1,584 men and women who were born in 1915. These participants were assessed in 2010 when they reached the ages of 94 or 95.
The findings were published in The Lancet.