Older people are not only living longer: positive results in the temporal trends of physical functioning

Giola Santoni is a researcher on health status and health trends in older people. She has worked at the Aging Research Center, Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and she is currently a biostatistician at the same institute.

Anna-Karin Welmer is associate professor and senior university lecturer at Karolinska Institutet. She is vice-principal investigator of the Swedish National study on Aging and Care in Kungsholmen (SNAC-K) population-study. Anna-Karin’s primary area of research interest is the epidemiology of physical function, disability and falls in older persons.

Despite the rapid gain in life expectancy in the last century, it is not clear if the added years consist of healthy years or years lived in poor health and disability.

Previous studies have reported stable or even declining levels of disability. However, disability is defined as the inability to perform basic activities of daily living independently in the environment a person lives. Disability trends can therefore be influenced by changes in the environment such as development of technical equipment. To what extent does the encouraging trend towards declines in disability in the older population reflect actual improvements in physical function? Continue reading

When the golden years are not so golden

aaAlmira Osmanovic Thunstrom is a PhD Candidate at the Aging Research Center at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and tweets as @almirathunstrom. In this blog, she introduces her recent Age & Ageing paper on perceived stress levels amongst over-65s.

Growing up in the 1990’s my vision of ageing came from the show The Golden Girls. The show depicted ageing as a time of great joy, adventure and the daily stressors of work and children as minimal in the post-retirement years. I was also greatly blessed to live with my grandfather, whose years were far from golden. He worried about his deteriorating health, he missed his wife and eventually diseases got the best of him: he suffered from vascular dementia and passed away at the tender age of 66. Already at a young age, I witnessed how diverse the ageing process could be.

Continue reading