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Feeling Old Can Increase Your Risk of Hospitalization

By Lauren Robison, 9:00 am on

The old adage “You’re as young as you feel” takes on new significance since a study has found that feeling older can actually land you in the hospital. The mind is powerful, and previous studies back up the notion that your thoughts can affect your health. Learn more about how perceived age can affect overall health, presented by leading New Hampshire live-in care provider, Home Care Assistance.

What Is Subjective Age?

Subjective age is the age you experience, rather than the age you are. For example, if you have a chronic illness, such as arthritis, that causes you constant pain at a young age, you may imagine yourself as much older than your true years. A recent study found that those who feel older than their peers were 10 to 25 percent more likely to be hospitalized over the coming two to 10 years.

What Factors Affect Subjective Age?

Study participants gave researchers information about previous hospitalizations and their previously diagnosed health conditions, such as arthritis, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, and lung disease. They also completed a questionnaire to assess possible depression. The study found that depression and poor health had a large impact on subjective age, since poor physical and mental health is associated with aging. People who feel older also have more rapid cognitive decline and are more likely to have sedentary lifestyles, which are commonly associated with hospital stays.

What Can Be Done?

The findings of this study give researchers insight into lifestyle changes that may help patients feel younger. Exercise and less sedentary lifestyles have been shown previously to reduce the risk of chronic illness and help with depression. Other standard treatments, such as counseling and increased social activity, can also help people reduce their risk of hospitalization.

The results of this study will help healthcare providers determine if a patient is at risk of frequent hospitalizations. It will allow them to provide standard treatments that may alleviate depression and other factors, ultimately lowering their risk of hospitalization significantly.

Interested in learning more about senior health and wellbeing? Turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care in New Hampshire. We offer customized care plans and flexible care schedules to ensure seniors have help with a variety of everyday tasks anytime of day or night. For more information, give us a call at (603) 471-3004 and request a free in-home consultation.